Posts


Bully…

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 »


Finished

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

Finally

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.
Kinda.

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 »


As the world burns…

Posted on December 3rd, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

Ok, so it’s been a while since my last blog post. It’s been more than a while. It’s been weeks; months even. I don’t really have an answer as to why. It’s not like I don’t have anything going on in my life. In fact, I have a ton of things going on, just nothing that seems to be blog worthy.

Last week, we spent our first Thanksgiving together as a family. It was a great day. We ate at home, then went to see the paternal family for dessert. It was a great day, just not blog worthy.

On Friday, we packed up the car and headed upstate for our first family vacation. We had a great time. Well, I think we did. I gave the boys their first driving lesson, and I showed them how to make a campfire. It … Read More »


Home, again.

Posted on September 29th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

Today’s post was supposed to be about our lovely honeymoon – how we stayed in these amazing guest cottages and met a dozen D-list celebs, and had the most amazing weather and how we are so in love.
Blah, Blah, Blah…

Who gives a crap?

Instead, let me tell you about today (monday).

I woke up at 5:19am because my newly acquired teen-age step-son doesn’t have a full grasp of time zones. From that point, it was off to the races. My mind was on fire: Work, bills, moving vans, AARP, cats. I couldn’t get my brain to shut off, so going back to sleep was impossible. Last time we were here, we missed our flight because I didn’t anticipate how difficult LAX traffic was. This time, I booked a 1:15 PM flight to JFK. That gave me 8 hours before take-off.

I was miserable.

I … Read More »


Home Sweet Home

Posted on September 12th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

So, it turns out, I’m married.

Legal-like. Official. Rings and everything.

Whoda thunk it?

Valarie and I got married on June 26th, and since then, it’s been a whirlwind of activity; we planned a party, changed all our bank accounts and bills, booked a vacation, and started moving under the same roof.

Along the way, I played a gig with Steve Mac and John Cadotte at the summer stroll, wrote two short stories for a contest, and managed to donate dozens of bags of unwanted clothes to goodwill. It’s been a productive summer, but one item still remained.

I hadn’t moved out of my apartment.

Oh, I stayed at my new house plenty of nights, and I managed to bring a bunch of boxes to my new residence…

but I still hadn’t move out.

That all changed this past week.

The first item of business was moving the cats. That … Read More »


Ready

Posted on June 25th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

“I’d stop and talk, but I’m already in love” – E. Vedder

The shoes are shined. The suit is cleaned. The shirt is pressed. The rings are on my desk.

I’m ready.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last Thursday, the boys took me out to dinner at Two Toms for my final bachelor extravaganza. Great time. Great food. Just a great night. No silliness. No strippers. No drunken assholes. Just me, and my brother, and my closest friends, (some of whom I hadn’t seen in quite a while), and some of my cousins, and Val’s sons. And of course, two empty chairs at the end of the table. It wasn’t planned that way, but somehow, symbolically, that’s how it ended up.

Of course, the only sadness of this entire year is that none of them were here to witness it. Neither Val or … Read More »


Going to the Chapel… Part I

Posted on June 9th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

Did I mention that I was getting married?

Yep, I decided that the time was right to take the plunge…
Jump the Broom…
Walk down the aisle…

I had been thinking about marrying Valarie for a while, but I hadn’t mentioned it to her, or anyone else. One morning, we were laying around in bed and I decided to ask the question.

“Hey, you want my name?”
“Yeah.” She replied.

And that was it. We didn’t really discuss it much further.
Then I wrote and article for a recovery website that mentioned the phrase “jump the broom”. Enough people read the article, and it started to take on a life of its own. That’s when I realized that I might actually have to follow through on this. Evidently, saying that you want to get married isn’t the same thing as actually getting married.

Who knew?

We started having serious discussions … Read More »


Snow Day

Posted on March 5th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

Like most everyone here in the northeast, I’ll be happy when the winter of 2014-15 has been relegated to the rear-view mirror. I don’t mind the cold that much, and I enjoy living in a four-season climate, but this winter has been a little more annoying than usual. We had a mild snowstorm back in December and the temperature has rarely been about freezing since then, so none of the snow piles have melted. This makes for disgusting icebergs and lost parking spots. We’ve had more single digit days than I can remember in quite some time, so other than work and food, the only reason that I’ve left the house is to go to the gym.

That has been happening less and less, although I won’t be able to blame the cold once spring arrives.

The cold weather has provided me … Read More »


Happy Old Year!

Posted on December 31st, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

As we wind down the hours of this calendar year and head toward the next, we are often forced to reflect on the past year and decide if it was a good one or not. More often than not I hear people say, “this year sucked, I can’t wait for —- (fill in the year.) I’ve probably said that about 35 times myself, but not this year. 2014 was pretty damn good, and I’m kind of sad to see her go. Of course there was stress and strife in my everyday life, and there was the non-stop onslaught of bad news emanating from my tv every night, but overall, this was a good one. I got to sing in public for the first time in 20 years; I got to go to California for the first time in my life … Read More »


Hanging with the hipsters

Posted on November 19th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

For me, Tuesday is Saturday.

Given the way my schedule works, the most boring day of the week for everyone else is big night out for me and Val. Every week we try to do something new and different and exciting. It’s not the best night for date night, but we make the best of it.

Today (Tuesday) was the first really cold day here in NYC, and despite the overwhelming urge to curl up under a blanket and watch bad T.V, we decided to brave the elements and head over to Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg.

I’ve never been one to follow the trend of the day. I don’t know if it was the fact that we were poor growing up, or if I just wanted to be different from everyone else, but I never seemed to be following the same fashion rules as … Read More »


And just like that… it was over

Posted on October 1st, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

Today’s blog is written in the third person…. just because

 

The alarm went off at 2pm, the exact time that he set it to go off, the exact time he had planned on getting up, only now, he wanted to sleep. The urgency of the moment was no longer upon him, but his commitment remained. Reluctantly, he slid out of bed and dragged his tired body to the living room.

Twenty-seven years prior, on the same day, he dragged his tired, hungover body, out of his mother’s apartment, and headed out into the street. When he reached 3rd avenue, he bought a 16oz can of Budweiser, and despite the lack of nourishment in his system, he started the cycle all over again. His memory of the majority of that day is non-existent.

On this particular day, he quickly turned on the t.v., knowing … Read More »


Fasntastic L.A.

Posted on September 3rd, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

We arrived in L.A under the cover of darkness. The late hour didn’t alow us drive through Topanga Canyon like we had planned, nor did it let us view the Santa Monica mountains as we made our way into the city. We rolled into Venice and  quickly found the cottage we had rented, as if we had been there before. For obvious reasons, we’ll call it a bungalow.

Venice is a welcoming place. It’s a beach community with a pulse and a vibe all its own. It was near midnight when we arrived, but we were too hyped to call it a day, so we went wandering in the dark. There were a few clubs on Venice Blvd that were alive with people and music, but for the most part, the streets were deserted. We made our way down to the … Read More »


OCD, can you see?

Posted on August 30th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

Part 1. – Flight

So evidently the surgery I had last year to repair my sinus cavity and help drain the fluid from my ears didn’t work all that well, because the pain in my ears during the first leg of our flight to California was brutal.

Oh wait, let me start over. On monday, Valarie and I left for our tour of the California coast, starting with a two-flight trip to San Francisco. I booked the layover flight because the last time I was on a single flight for more than four hours, I nearly killed the 5-year-old that was kicking my seat for three hours. I also nearly killed the guy sitting next to me. He just happened to be my buddy who I was traveling with, but that’s an entirely different story.

In anticipation of the flight I – went … Read More »


Anybody wanna race?

Posted on August 20th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 4 comments

racist – noun – a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

Quite often we use words that we don’t actually know the meaning of. A racist is often portrayed as someone who hates people from other races, but that’s not the definition at all.

Is it wrong to think that people of African descent, ie, blacks, are better athletes than other races? Is it wrong to think that Romans, ie, Italians were better artists that other races? Is it wrong to think that Celtics, ie Irishmen were the greatest writers on the planet? Is it wrong to think the men are better at providing, and women are better at nurturing?

Am I a racist? Am I a sexist? Am I a bigot?

For the last week, we have been inundated with the images coming out of Ferguson, Missouri, site of … Read More »


Almost Famous…

Posted on July 23rd, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

“No one came from miles around… and said ‘man, who’s he?’ ”    – Ian Gillan

The great thing about the mid-life crisis is that it forces you to find out who you really are. Some people go into that dark abyss and don’t come out, some come out an buy a sports car, some come out the other side looking tired and worn; while some come out looking like a shiny, new penny.
Right now, I’m somewhere in between, but the ride is pretty amazing.

After publishing Split Rock Road last year, the most popular question I heard was, “When is the next one coming out?” My usual answer is “soon”, but the truth is, maybe next year, maybe never. Writing the book was a dream fulfilled, and a wish crossed off the list. Then I moved onto other endeavors. Namely, the … Read More »


Back to the Garden…

Posted on July 3rd, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

I can’t stand surprises. Valarie likes them. so every once in a while I like to plan a day without telling her. On Monday, I told her to pack a day bag and be ready to leave early Tuesday morning. I was planning to drive up to Bethel NY, to the site of the original Woodstock festival in August on 1969. The plan was to leave before 10 and get up there around noon.

I went out around 8 to put gas in the car and SURPRISE!

Flat tire.

I told you I hate surprises.

After muttering and cursing my fates, I headed over to the local tire shop where they told me that I needed a new tire.

“The tire is three weeks old. I ain’t buying a new tire.”

“Ok, we fix.”

When I get back to the house, Valarie has a frown bigger than … Read More »


Dream a little dream

Posted on June 2nd, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes

 

When we last left our intrepid warrior, he was scaling the hills and valleys of central NY without a compass or a map, with only his wits and his guile to guide him

Once back in the comfort of my concrete surroundings, I quickly fell back into the rhythm of the city. No longer held back by the fresh air and green grass, I was free to be me. So as I got off the train on Wednesday, I was walking with a friend and I made a sudden change of direction. As I did, I could feel a tear and then a pop in the muscles in my calf. Not wanting to appear foolish and weak, I gritted my teeth and hobbled … Read More »


Split Rock – Revisited

Posted on May 28th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

On Friday, at 4am, our adventure begins.

For the past 30 plus years, myself and a group of industrious outdoorsmen, venture forth on Memorial Day Weekend, to re-connect with nature in a way that most Americans never get the chance to…

Ok, yeah… That’s bullshit…

So back in 1981, my friends and I jumped into the car of the only person with a license and drove to the Pocono’s to meet up with our buddy who spent his summers at his family’s summer house. We then proceeded to camp out in the woods and get piss drunk for the next 3 days. I don’t remember much. I know that I was scared of the dark, and we had only one flashlight. I think I might have slept in the car one of the nights.

We kept going back to the Pocono’s a couple of … Read More »


Hey… Where ya been?

Posted on May 20th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

And just like that… 6 weeks has passed since my last post…

To those of you who follow my blog, I apologize, but life has a tendency to speed up as we grow up. Once you hit 40, it only gets faster.

To begin with, yesterday was the first day of my 12 day vacation. In short, I need it desperately. I’m not burnt out, but I’m certainly worn down, and as a result, my writing has suffered. Scratch that, it has disappeared. Having said that, don’t feel bad for me, things are good right now. Really good. I’m starting to edge my way out of the financial hole that I found myself in, and I’ve been cramming as much “living” into my free time as I possibly can. Writing just hasn’t been a part of it.

First of all, inspired by all … Read More »


We sold our souls for Rock and Roll

Posted on April 1st, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

Once upon a time, 4 youths from a town in England started a band, and changed the course of music forever. For most people, that would describe the four lads from Liverpool. For the rest of us, it was Black Sabbath. Outside of the Beatles, Sabbath may have been the biggest influence on an entire generation of music. Sure, Zeppelin and The Who were bigger, more talented, more critically revererd, but for fans of heavy metal, it all starts with Sabbath.

The unique thing about Sabbath is that you can’t be luke warm. You either love them, or you don’t. I never “got” the Grateful Dead. I never understood my friends’ diligent obsession with a bunch of leftover hippies. And they in turn, never got us. There were only 5 or 6 of us that listened to hard rock in my … Read More »


Wherefore ART thou?

Posted on March 26th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

“I only care about three things in life… Love, Art and Baseball.” –  J. McAllen 2014

Many years ago, I opened a fortune cookie and read my fortune – “You are a lover of all things artistic.”
I stuffed that into a notebook somewhere and I still come across it from time to time. It’s true. I’ve always considered artists to be on a higher plane than the regular schmucks that you meet on a day to day basis. And by artist, I mean anyone who creates or fixes something. The wood carpenter, he’s an artist. The auto-body mechanic, he’s an artist. The left-handed relief pitcher who gets by on guile and an 88 mph fastball, he’s an artist too. The guy calling me at 9 am to try and sell me some flea-ridden stock, he’s a parasite.
Now, maybe he goes home … Read More »


Zombies, Scarface, and Carole

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

So, after years of hearing how good The Walking Dead is, I finally took the plunge and started watching the first season. Needless to say, I was hooked from the first episode. I quickly discovered that I can’t watch the show while I’m eating dinner, lest some of the splattering blood land on my chicken cutlets. About a week into the 2nd season, I was watching an episode at 3am when the lights in my apartment went out. Now, the rational part of me knew that it was simply a case of the salt from all the snowstorms corroding the wires in the street, but that didn’t stop me from racing to the hall closet to get my trusty baseball bat and flashlight, and then methodically search the house for zombies.

No, Im not kidding.

It’s funny. When you go to bed … Read More »


What happened to Thank You?

Posted on February 19th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

I woke up in a good mood today. I actually wake up in a good mood most days lately. It’s kind of sickening, but hey, the boys’ in love. What can I say?

I knew the temperature was going to be around 40, so I was excited for my first Wednesday Walk-about in weeks. I had two early doctors appointments, and after that I was free to roam for hours. I headed to the subway with an extra pep in my step.

As I headed down the stairs, I noticed a young woman making her way down, struggling with an over-sized stroller under one arm and a two year old girl holding her other hand. Three or four people passed her without giving her so much as a second glance. The train was roaring into the station, so I offered to carry … Read More »


Take it to the bank.

Posted on January 28th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

I remember when I was a kid in 2nd grade, as part of our math lessons, we were taught about the importance of saving, and the benefits of compound interest. It was explained to us that banks were in the business of borrowing and lending money. When we placed money in a savings bank, it was the same as a loan, and it would earn interest. The bank would then loan it out at a higher rate of interest. That’s how the banks made money. It seemed like a great concept. As part of the lesson, the teacher showed is how a deposit of $50 dollars, left alone in a 5% interest bearing account for 20 years, would result in a total of $135 dollars.

First of all, yes it’s true. At one time banks did give you 5 percent interest … Read More »


Staycation

Posted on January 18th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

The best thing about any new year is that when the calendar rolls over, you get your full compliment of vacation days back.

Last week at work, we received an e-mail about an opening on the day shift – Monday to Friday. 6am to 2pm. I sat down and gave this some serious thought, which means more than 30 seconds. I thought about being able to have weekends off again. To eat dinner at the same time as the rest of the world. To be able to go to a family event on more than 3 hours sleep. The opportunity seemed enticing. Then I thought about the cons – no more empty supermarkets. No more empty DMV appointments. Crowded subway trains filled with people coughing and sneezing. I shuddered at the thought. I started to do the math in my head. … Read More »


Spring in January

Posted on January 16th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

I woke up today full of energy and ready to attack the day.

Scratch that. It’s a lie.

I went to bed last night HOPING to wake up full of energy. It didn’t really turn out that way. Last night we stayed home to watch Justified and the new HBO drama True Detective. On Monday, I watched Man of Steel while Val and the 2 cats slept. It was a major disappointment. It didn’t come close to the Batman movies. I can’t beleive that Time Warner spent 225 million to make that. The Superman cartoons are better. I don’t really know why I bother watching movies any more. TV drama’s are so much better nowadays.

Anyway, when the end of 2013 rolled around, I made the decision, (the same decision that I make every year), to re-dedicate myself to being more active and … Read More »


Out with the old…

Posted on January 1st, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

And so 2013 comes to an end. One of the best years of my life… almost.

Just when you think everything is going in the right direction, life has the uncanny ability of clipping you on the back of your head and saying, “not so fast, bucko.” Yesterday, as the old year was winding down, Valarie and I were trying to decide what we were going to do to ring in the new year. We kept waffling on where we wanted to go, but we finally settled on going to the movies to see the Wolf of Wall Street. We were running a bit late, so we jumped into the car and took off, not noticing that there might have been something amiss. We traveled nearly a mile before I saw the piece of paper flapping under my windshield. I jumped … Read More »


Christmas, Montauk, and the end of Split Rock Road.

Posted on December 5th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

2013 is winding down. Those of you who follow this blog know full well that it’s been an interesting year. Dare I say amazing?

I released a wonderful little book entitled Split Rock Road, and while the sales have not set the world on fire, it has been very well received. All in all, I’ve been very happy with the outcome. Two weeks ago, I took a writing trip to Montauk. It was only 24 hours, but I found it to be very productive and cathartic. I had set out to do some work on a novel that I had been working on for a few weeks. In the story, the protagonist drives out to Montauk to have a clandestine affair with a married, well-to-do socialite. When he arrives at the hotel, he finds her dead. This was going to be … Read More »


The End of the Road

Posted on November 20th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

And on Tuesday morning, with the sky still black, I kissed Valarie goodbye and headed east, first stopping in Long Beach to visit some ghosts, and then continuing on unti I ran out of real esate. From one tip of the island to the other. By the way, Long Island is the longest, largest and most populous island in the lower 48. 118 miles from tip to tail. Guess it makes sense to call it Long Island.

When I arrived in Montauk, I drove straight to the point and stopped to take in the ocean. As I sat on a bench, looking out over towards Block Island, I noticed what I thought were five pieces of driftwood bobbing in the rough surf. Then they disappeared. When they resurfaced  30 yards away, it dawned on me what I was seeing; a group … Read More »


Love, loss and the fickle muse…

Posted on November 18th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

 

When we last left our hero, he was $650 lighter after being rooked in a Craigslist ticket scam. At the time I was pissed beyond belief, but as it turns out, my blog entry for that week was read by 4 times as many people as would normally tune in. I simply posted a warning on Craigslist with a link to the page and VOILA! New readers. Hopefully, some of them will come back from time to time. I certainly could not have gotten that many readers if I had paid for $650 in advertising. Plus I got the added bonus of seeing the kid that beat me in handcuffs, so it wasn’t a total loss.

And of course, I got to go see Pearl Jam twice and they were amazing both times. The crowd in Brooklyn seemed a little more … Read More »


The Umbrella

Posted on October 18th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 10 comments

My ol’ man was an eternal optimist. No matter how bad the situation, he always thought that things would work out in the end. Whenever we lost a game or a girlfriend, or some other teenage disaster, he always said the same thing, “I guarantee you, the sun will come up tomorrow.” And it always did. Even as it was becoming evident that his journey was coming to an end far too soon, he never complained or cried “why me“. The last thing that he said to me was “I’m only responsible for the effort, not the result.”

Mother was a fatalist. No matter how good things were going, she always expected it to turn out sour. She was always waiting for the other shoe to drop and when it did, she was right there to say… “I told you.”

Guess which gene I … Read More »


A chip off the Block

Posted on October 15th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

Today’s blog requires a little back-story.

Back in 2006, shortly after the untimely death of my mama, I turned 40 and entered my mid-life crisis. Stuck in a job that I neither loved nor hated, I decided to throw caution to the wind and take a year off to pursue other endeavors. I saved up all my pennies and soda cans, and enrolled at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting with dreams of knocking Hannity off his lofty perch. That obviously hasn’t happened yet, but it was still one of the great moves in my life. I had a great time, and met some great people, and was exposed to some wonderful instructors. Among them was Party Marty Mitchell, who is now the morning man on Thunder 106. (You should check it out.) —> http://thunder106.com/djs

One of my other instructors was a gentleman named … Read More »


Gypsies, tramps and thieves

Posted on October 2nd, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 4 comments

As I made my way down Park Ave after my weekly allergy shots, I had already picked my blog topic and was starting to write it in my head when a unattractive black woman handed me a piece of paper.  It was an ad for a psychic, Madam Larue, or something like it. Spiritual reader. Tarot Cards. $10 special. I walked a block and looked back. The woman was staring at me. I walked another block and looked up 32nd street. There was a sign for a different psychic. This was kismet. I was meant to do this, besides, it was only $10 bucks. What harm could be done? At that moment I realized that I only had $20 dollar bills in my pocket. If I walked in there with only a $20, I would definitely walk out 20 bucks lighter. … Read More »


Summer’s Almost Gone

Posted on September 20th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

And when my mother was a week late in delivering, her doctor told her, “Take a long bus ride, see if it jostles something.”

And so they got on the B9, mom and dad together, and rode the bus from one end to the other. 2 and 1/2 hours.

Nothing.

When she went back to the doctor, he told her that he was going on vacation. She told him, “I’m going to wait for you, Dr. Fanta.” He laughed at the silliness of her statement and assured her that the child was going to be born long before he got back from vacation, but he promised to look in on her as soon as he got back. When he got back to his office, his face dropped when he saw my mother sitting in his waiting room.

“We gotta go get him” was all … Read More »


A dull day in my amazing life

Posted on September 11th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

I haven’t written in a while.  I’ve been busy and a little stressed, but mostly I’ve been uninspired. I was going to write a political blog about the situation in Syria last week, but I decided against it. No one wants to read my opinion on international affairs; they like when I rant about the guy that farts on the crowded subway car.

The main problem is that I’m not miserable at the moment. It’s so much easier to write when you’re filled to the brim with bile and resentment. Makes for better reading too.

So rather than a rant, or an opinion, I decided to document my day, just to see what it looks like.

Man, am I boring.

My day actually started around midnight last night. I crawled out of the comfort of my cool sheets and a half naked body, to … Read More »


Hanging with the poets…

Posted on August 28th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

Life has been good the last few weeks. The job is good. My personal life is good. My health is good. I even lost a pound or two. Everything is wonderful. Except my writing. I’m bone dry. I’ve written one blog in two weeks. The muse is fickle. She abandons you when you’re not in pain.

Last night I was the featured reader at a the Bellmore Memorial Library. It’s usually a poets event, but I was asked to read by my new cousin-in-law Christina. I said yes as soon as she asked, but all day I was regretting it. It’s one thing to read to a roomful of readers, it’s another to read for writers. Everyone is comparing themselves, all waiting to be impressed. Poets are a tricky bunch, a different breed. Once upon a time I was a poet. … Read More »


Bye Bye, Miss American Pie…

Posted on August 26th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

“All the best songs have been written” – Rich Doherty

followed by – “You’re an asshole” – Thomas Hoban

Last night, the VMA’s were held… in Brooklyn. My hometown.

20 years ago, this would have been a cause for great excitement, but 20 years ago, MTV would have never gone anywhere near Kings County. I wish they stayed away.

Truth be told, I didn’t actually watch the VMA’s last night. I worked.

Instead, I watched clips of the performances on Youtube this morning. This is the era that we live in. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed.

In fact, I was depressed. What the hell happened to music when I wasn’t looking? Doesn’t anyone know how to rock? Doesn’t anyone have any balls at all?

I remember back when I was a kid coming up in the world, I lived through the Disco vs Rock wars. Every … Read More »


Been a long time since I Rock and Rolled…

Posted on August 12th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 4 comments

On Saturday night, I headed up to New Rochelle with the muse in tow. New Rochelle is a place. It’s not in Brooklyn. I dont like leaving Brooklyn too much. It fucks with my chi. Or my Zen, I’m not sure which.

I was off to see the debut performance of  Chronicles, a Rush tribute band. Growing up, I loved Rush, and hated tribute bands. I thought they were a rip-off of the artist. When I was about 16, I snuck into L’amour with fake ID to see The Crystal Ship, a Doors tribute band. In between sets, I waited by the dressing room area and when the dude playing Jim came out, I shook his hand and leaned into him.

“Morrison fuckin hates you.’ I whispered to him. He looked at me funny and then kept walking to the stage. I … Read More »


Ooooh… that smell…

Posted on August 9th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

On the morning of Sept 29, 1987 (or was it already afternoon?), I woke up with a head full of cement, a nose full of bloody snot and a 72-hour gap in my memory. At that point, I made a decision. I decided that I was going to take a vacation from the way I was living and give myself a month of drug-free living to let my body and my wallet recuperate. It was a fairly ridiculous decision since I hadn’t gone more than 10 days without getting high since I was 15.

I was 22 at the time.

25 plus years later, I’m still here. I’m blessed… and really lucky. If I made no other good decisions since then, that one was enough. If I made any good decisions, they can all be traced back to that day.

The best part … Read More »


Hi ho… Hi ho…

Posted on August 8th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

I put the key in the door at 5:30 am… I’m home.  Two weeks ago, I was leaving the house at 5:30 am. Life takes funny turns and strange bounces.

It’s five weeks in, and I still don’t know whether or not I like this job. Oh, I like it well enough on Thursday evenings when the direct deposit lands, but I’m waffling the rest of the time. People ask me about my new gig all the time and I make the most ambiguous responses…  “Ah… kinda, I think so… I mean, it’s better than the last place…” Blah Blah Blah…

Truth be told… it’s a great company, and a great place to work and the people have been really helpful and willing to teach, and frankly I’ve been surprised by it… Most places resent the new guy and worry that he’s … Read More »


Chapter 2… or is it 3?

Posted on July 27th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

Woke up yesterday with my tail wagging and a smile on my face.

I know, I know… most people can’t get used to the idea of me being happy, but don’t fret… I’m sure it’s temporary.

Yesterday was the last day of the first phase of my training at the new job. No more 5am wake-ups. Next week I start at 8pm, and work overnight. That’s something I’m much more acclimated to, but at the same time, I’m going to be the new guy again, with a new round of introductions. I’m sure the anxiety rate will be high again come Monday.

I left work at 4 and bolted up the NJ Turnpike anticipating another great evening at the Bay Ridge Summer Stroll. Last week was great, despite the heat and humidity. Despite the lack of crowds, I had a get night; sold … Read More »


Does it seem hot in here?

Posted on July 20th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

Good evening folks, it’s great to be back.

As you already know, I’ve started a new journey in my professional life, and after two weeks I’m happy with my decision. I’ve worked harder in the last two weeks than I have in a long time, but at the same time, I’ve received more compliments and accolades than I experienced in the entire 5 years at my last stop. I know that you’re not supposed to trash your ex-girlfriends… but what a twat she was…

It’s been an adventure waking up at 5am each morning, and it breaks my heart to have to pay a toll for MY bridge every day, but overall, I’m happy. The hard part is going to bed every night at 10pm and trying to get 7 hours of sleep. Usually, it’s.. Ok… I’ll go in at 10:15.

Ok, 10:30.

Ok, … Read More »


Notes on Day One

Posted on July 8th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

If you have cats, you don’t need an alarm. They wake you up every 15 minutes.
It’s way more fun to go to bed at 5:30am, than it is to wake up at 5:30am.
Taking a shower at 6am in 90 degree weather is a pleasant experience. Not sure if I want to do it in February.
If you happen to be a large, middle-age man, you will not be able to close that top button on a humid day. I almost choked myself to death.
I may not look as good on the beach anymore, but put me in a shirt and tie with jeans… and I’m fucking HOT!
The South Ferry station on the 1 train may be the hottest place on earth. If you stood there for more than 15 minutes. You might pass out.
If you’re looking sharp in your jeans and … Read More »


Last Day of Summer

Posted on July 7th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 5 comments

She pranced across the hot sand, her delicate feet barely touching ground. From behind her sunglasses, I could see that she was glancing at me. She was 21, maybe 22, and her supple skin had been lovingly kissed by the sun, turning it a deep, dark brown. She licked her lips before smiling, and beckoning for me to come over to her blanket.

Or did she?

No, of course she didn’t. She was a lifeguard with a potty mouth that made me want to scold her and send her to her room, but instead I made her a princess, cause that’s what I do. For some reason, the beach brings out the creative impulses. For some reason, the beach late in the afternoon, when the crowds have gone and the sun is setting, brings out the creativity AND the melancholia. This is … Read More »


Chapter two

Posted on June 28th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

“When one door closes, another one opens.”

I’ve heard that little nugget about 746,000 times in my life. And I hated it every time.

The fact of the matter is… it’s true.

To recap the ongoing saga of my professional life, I resigned from my job last week. I gave two weeks notice and then asked if I could use my vacation days so I could just move on and not have to come back.

Of course, the little megalomaniac with the Napoleon complex said, No.

I had a meltdown. I was livid. I was apoplectic. I gave him blast after blast and caught him in lie after lie, but all he said was, “I’m not into negotiating.” We ended the conversation badly and then I went on a Facebook tirade. It was rather brilliant, if I may say-so, but it didn’t help. I had … Read More »


Fear Strikes Out

Posted on June 24th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

Fear Strikes out…

That was the title of the book and movie about Jimmy Piersall, a former Major leaguer who battled with mental illness his entire life. I borrowed the title because I’ve been battling with a few demons for the past few weeks. Some days I get a few licks in… some days they win.

Not today.

After weeks of waffling, I walked into the office of my manager and handed over my resignation letter. I’m not going to lie and tell you that I didn’t enjoy the moment, but for days I was terrified.

When I was 29, I left a great company for another job. I did so without a moment of fear.

When I was 40, I decided to go back to school and try to make a career change. It took a few weeks of planning and a bit of … Read More »


The breast day ever…

Posted on June 14th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 5 comments

I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Central Park, but I’m certain it’s in the hundreds. And yet every time I go there, I either find a new route, or see something new. Yesterday both happened.

I started out on the Fifth Ave side of the park, and after a bunch of twists and turns, found myself over by the Hans Christian Andersen statue and a body of water called the Conservatory. Truth be told, I didn’t like this area particularly much, so I made my way up the hilly slope towards the 72nd street exit. Off to the right was an oblong patch of grass that contained a few dozen people milling about in various forms of leisure. In my never-ending search for things to write about, I happened to gaze upon a young woman with a number … Read More »


Fear and the Devil

Posted on June 12th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 7 comments

The first in an ongoing series about fear…

I’ve been trying to write this blog for about 4 days. And each time I start, I am forced to stop and delete it. The reason, quite simply, is fear. No pun intended. I was afraid to put this blog out into the world.

Today started out bad. From the minute I opened my eyes, I knew it was gonna be a long, arduous day. I could taste the apprehension in the back of my throat. I’ll tell you why.

For the longest time, I have been miserable at work. The job is ok. The hours are ok. But I am completely unfulfilled. After complaining about it for the better part of two years, I started looking for alternatives. I had an interview last week. I won’t reveal the company yet, but they offered me … Read More »


Confessions of a sometimes atheist…

Posted on June 4th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

In 2000, after 18 months of depression and soul-searching, with a healthy does of religious reading thrown in, I came out of the closet… as an atheist. I did it at an AA meeting. My friends looked at me like I said I was a baby-killer. The woman next to me shifted her chair away. I said “Don’t worry, it’s not contagious.”

I’m what I like to call an 80/20 atheist. I don’t really believe in god, but I pray a lot… just in case. Sometimes I pray for things… sometimes I just pray for knowledge or guidance. Mostly I just pray for the strength not to kill stupid people. I say that prayer a lot.

I was raised a catholic… kind of. We didn’t go to mass all that much, but I knew all rules and the prayers and rituals. I … Read More »


Spam

Posted on May 29th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

Since starting this blog and website, I have gotten my fair share of hits, and more than a few comments. They are greatly appreciated. Even the hate mail. Actually, I love the hate mail, especially the mis-spellings. Don’t they see the red line?

Actually, spell-check has made me dumber. I used to take pride in my spelling. Now I don’t even try. I just give a close approximation of what I think the word sounds like, and then I let spell check do the rest. This is another sign of the apocalypse, an entire population that can’t write and can’t spell.

Today, while setting up for the next blog post, which will follow this one, I started reading some of the spam that WordPress filters out. Usually I just delete it, but today I decided to read it. Some of it is … Read More »


Son of a Gun

Posted on May 22nd, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

This past week I got the chance to watch a vigorous gun debate between Michael Moore and S.E. Cupp on Bill Maher’s show. Now despite my unabashed crush on Miss Cupp, and my absolute distaste for anything Moore does, I found myself siding with that disgusting behemoth of a man. To a point.

Every since the news broke about the horrible events at Newtown Conn, the phrase gun control has been on the lips of every newscaster and  the front pages of every newspaper in the country. The only time that it isn’t in the forefront, is when they find something else to hang on Obama.

I am always fascinated why there is any debate about gun control at all. This is really the one issue where both sides of the aisle should be able to agree in about 15 minutes. But … Read More »


Do you know who I am?

Posted on May 21st, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

Or even more appropriately, Do I know who I am?

Or lastly, who the hell am I?

At least once a week, as part of my routine as a writer, I spend the day in the city, just watching. It’s something that I’ve always loved doing; just observing the world and taking in the people and letting my imagination roam. When I was younger, we used to play this game called, “What’s his story?”, where we would pick out a person, and based on their walk, or their clothes, or their manner of speech, we would make up a story about them. It was great fun, and an excellent training ground as a writer, plus there was also one other fact that made the whole thing interesting.

Everyone has a story. Even though most of the people that we see on a daily … Read More »


The Undoing of Barack Obama…

Posted on May 17th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 4 comments

For all intents and purposes, the Presidency of Barack Obama is over. While that might not be such a terrible revelation to some people, it means three more years of gridlock for most of us, and brings us three years closer to the end of the empire.

Before I start, let me set the record straight by saying that I did not vote for either Sen. Obama in 08′, or President Obama in 2012. It had nothing to do with him being a socialist, or a Muslim, or a Kenyan or any of the hyperbole that republicans and conspiracy theorists were so quick to bandy about. I thought that he lacked experience on a supervisory and executive level and I think that I have been proven right. However, unlike most of the other incidents where I get to tell all of you … Read More »


Sex and the single, middle-aged, fat guy…

Posted on May 9th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

I have been at a loss for blog topics over the past week, and I’m not ready to delve into the political arena, so I decided to share some of the dating secrets that I have amassed over the past 47 years. This post only pertains to sex and dating, being that I have no earthly clue how to maintain a healthy relationship.

Some of these observations are mine, some are stolen. I will try and note those that are not mine.

First of all, women want to have sex just as much as we do. They just have for more responsibility than we do, and don’t obsess as much. Generally women prefer, mind-blowing, window-rattling, multi-orgasmic sex. This is in short supply. Men would settle for a hand-job on the subway… from a stranger…

Sex with women under 30 is pretty much a … Read More »


Over Under Sideways Down

Posted on May 5th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

It was the best of times… it was the worst of times.

In other words… what a week.

Last week and this week were supposed to be recovery time from my surgery. I thought that I would spend the time working on my next writing project, but I hadn’t really anticipated the level of fatigue that I encountered, or the complete lack of motivation that went with it. So rather than doubling my literary output, I watched a lot of bad movies. One of which was a Bradley Cooper flick called The Words. In a previous blog post I stated that I didn’t “Get” Cooper, so I’m not really sure why I had the movie on my netflix queue, but I did.

As it turns out, the premise of the movie was an idea that I had of my own making some 5 … Read More »


La Famiglia

Posted on May 1st, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

Liberty NY – I drove up north this morning with a heavy heart, returning to scene of my teenaged exile for the funeral of my mother’s older sister, Mary. No one called her Mary in my family, they called her Googie, for reasons that escaped me until today. It turns out that my grandfather, in his broken english, couldn’t properly pronounce Cookie, which was her nickname, so it came out, Googie. This is how legends are born.

She and her husband Bill, raised 6 children, all girls, who in turn produced 13 grandchildren and 10 more great-grandchildren. Dinners were crowded to say the least. My mother was one of eight, and I in turn was one of 23 grandchildren. Most families have a kid’s table at family dinner. We had two; the kids table and the teenagers table. By the time … Read More »


Things I don’t get…

Posted on April 29th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

With the advent of computers, social media and instant access, everyone has the opportunity to voice their opinions, and do so quickly. I, of course, try to take advantage of that each and every day. But I am always fascinated by the ability of some people, or trends, or ideas to be elevated without any merit or talent. Of course, Kim Kardashian comes to mind first, with her two nitwit sisters following right behind her, but  I do have to give them credit for being masters of marketing. Kudos to them. Here now is my list of things and people and books and movies and ideas that I simply do not understand how they have managed to become popular. Feel free to comment and/or add your own.

I don’t get Bradley Cooper.

I don’t get Catcher in the Rye.

I don’t get Stanley … Read More »


The week that was…

Posted on April 26th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

Obviously, if you’ve been following my blog or my facebook page, then you have been hearing me whine about my anticipated (now completed) nasal and sinus surgery.

So the night before my surgery, I decided to have a little fun. I had to shave most of my goatee in prep for the procedure, so I decided to mimic the hundreds of pictures on facebook that claim to be for one cause or another. I drew a home-made sign, the kind you see homeless people carrying everyday on subway platforms and in front of churches, and took the picture looking as pathetic and forlorn as possible.  It must have worked because I got dozens of responses and I actually saw a spike in book sales. Truth be told, any sale at all shows up as a spike, but that’s not the point. This might … Read More »


From Brooklyn to Boston

Posted on April 21st, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

I’ve been away from this blog for the last week, partly because I have been working diligently on a screenplay that needs to be finished by May 1st, and moreso because I have been riveted by the events in Boston this past week.

I’m not going to comment on the events or the suspects; not about who they are, and what they did, and what they believe, or what I think should happen to them (him). I simply don’t know the facts yet. Maybe I never will. But I do know this; in a civilized society, everyone gets a lawyer. Manson got a lawyer. Bundy got a lawyer. Hell, even Eichmann got a lawyer. If we are going to call ourselves the beacon of greatness, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than the rest of the world.

Aside from my … Read More »


Misanthropic xenophobic predjudicial blogger from the Land of Kings

Posted on April 13th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 4 comments

Ok, so I’m not really any of those things. Not totally anyway. We all have our prejudices, and the media loves to exploit them, and we let them. We know that not all Irishmen are drunks, and not all Italians are guidos with uncles in the mafia, but we go along with the stereo-type because it’s funny. Having said that, and despite my mixed Italirish heritage, I can’t stand the drunken shanty-irish and the loudmouth guidos that populate my neighborhood. Or at least they used to.

A misanthrope is someone who has a hatred for mankind. I’m on the fence about this. I don’t think people are so terrible. I just think they are selfish. I was complaining once and my brother told me, “You don’t get it. They are starring in their own movie, you’re just an extra.”  It’s totally … Read More »


A Day in the Life…

Posted on April 12th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

Today, (Wed) I had two appointments in the city. I love my city days, especially when it’s as nice out as it was today. I decided to make a day of it. This is what I heard and saw.

The 5 train is always crowded. People are rude. They don’t smell too good either. A three-man doo-wop group got on and sang a gospel song. They were really good. I gave them a buck. At Nevins street, a dude with a bag full of sandwiches and chips and juices boxes got on. He was collecting for the homeless coalition of something or other. He looked shady and had a nasty disposition when no one gave him anything. I didn’t give him anything either.

After my first appointment on 36th and Park, I walked up to Grand Central to catch the shuttle. On my way, … Read More »


Hoarding and clutter

Posted on April 10th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

As I have stated before in a previous blog, I have a touch of OCD. It’s not a paralyzing form like some people have, it’s more of an interesting conversation piece at family gatherings. It also makes for funny blog entries. Along with the OCD, I have a dual issue that is currently causing me a great deal of stress.

Ok, it’s not that much stress. I think I’m a borderline hoarder. That’s ok on it’s own, but the problem is… I hate clutter. Part of my OCD is that I need to have everything in it’s proper place at all times. If I spend more than 5 minutes trying to find something, that’s a problem.  Its mean either A. I absent-mindedly put something in the wrong place, or worse  – B. someone moved something in my house. This is a major … Read More »


In the middle of the middle…

Posted on April 9th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 4 comments

So it’s no secret that I’m 47 now. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Truthfully, the worst thing about being 47, is answering “47” when someone asks how old you are, especially if she’s obviously 29, and there is no lie that you can tell that will legitimately put you in the same generation.

When I was a small boy, I asked my old man about the year 2000. I asked him how old I would be and he replied “35”. I almost fell over. 35 seemed ancient. Hell, he wasn’t even 35 at the time. By the time that 35 rolled around, I was more than prepared. I was truly in the prime of my life; great physical condition, riding high in my career.

I was taking an acting class at that time. I was rehearsing some … Read More »


Anxiety and weirdness

Posted on April 7th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 5 comments

I started out being different. Right from the jump, I had to shine. Most of you took 9 months in the cooker. I took a full 10. From Nov 21th all the way to Sept 20th. Poor Theresa must have thought I was never coming. As the story goes, her doctor, Dr. Fanta, was going on vacation in late August and passed her off to another pediatrician. She told him, “No, I’m going to wait for you.”  He laughed and said, Good luck, Mrs. McAllen.

He wasn’t laughing when he came back three weeks later and saw her sitting in his waiting room. “We’re going to have to go and get him.” And with that, a legend was born.

All throughout my younger years, I felt different and set apart. I had friends, a younger brother, and 400 cousins that I played … Read More »


Whoa… what a difference a day makes.

Posted on April 4th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

Confidence is a funny thing. It comes and goes like the wind, with no rhyme or reason.

It’s strange how moods work. You can go for days feeling great, and everything around you seems perfect. You feel strong, your hair looks good, everything is funny and sunny, and then BAM. It’s over.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been riding a wave. After the initial release of the book, and the subsequent response, I have been on a roll. It’s been terrific. Then, in an effort to help book sales and exposure, I started this blog. Truth be told, I had no hopes at all for the blog. In fact, prior to a few weeks ago. I hated blogs. I felt that they were all badly written and self-indulgent. Until I started one. Then a strange thing happened; I got a tremendously … Read More »


Confessions of a jaded bachelor

Posted on April 3rd, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

As a disclaimer, I must admit, I am diametrically opposed to the institution of marriage, unless you need health insurance. To me it’s an exercise in folly to think that two people are going to be able to stand each other’s presence for more than 10 years without killing each other. But there are those lovestruck fools who are convinced that their love will outlast all others, so I humor them.

When I see my friends get married, I just make the fair assumption that its becuase the dude doesn’t know how to cook and is simply tired of eating take-out. My mother hated every female that I came in contact with, so she made sure that I knew how to cook, make the bed, and become acquainted with the business end of a vacumm cleaner. But they are in love, and I’m … Read More »


A really good day…

Posted on April 1st, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

There are certain days that I love every year. Some obvious and some not so obvious.

Of course there are days I hate too. I hate the entire Christmas month. I’m not too fond of Thanksgiving either. St. Paddy’s day is pretty much take it or leave it too. If I can avoid the drunken Irish morons in the city, then it isn’t so bad.

But there are a couple of great days. Halloween is a great day. I like that you can be anyone or anything for a day, and no one questions you. I also like that every respectable woman dresses like a 10 dollar whore.

The Saturday after Labor Day is great too. The beaches are empty. It makes no sense; it’s still summer, the water is still warm, the sun is still hot, and yet no one goes to … Read More »


The Internet, Facebook and the Death of Culture…

Posted on March 28th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 4 comments

The internet has been around for quite a while now. For me, it started in 1994 when my then-roommate Rich, purchased a Packard Bell PC.  It was a great machine; it had an internal modem and everything. Two weeks after he got it, lightning struck near our home and fried the modem. Somehow, I got blamed for it.

Our forays into the Internet started with Prodigy and soon progressed to America Online. AOL was a killer company; the stock went to $60, put everyone else out of business. Then AOL bought Time Warner and the whole thing fell apart. At that time, the internet was little more than E-mails, chatrooms, and message boards. Internet porn hadn’t taken hold yet, there was no Youtube or Youporn, or Google maps. It was all pretty basic, but it caught fire rather quickly.

Somewhere along the … Read More »


Lists

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

I have a touch of OCD. Not a major case, I don’t have to flick the light on and off multiple times, but I do have to go through certain routines. One is that I have to go through my checklist before I leave the house.

Money, pen, keys, phone, cigarettes. I do it twice. I haven’t smoked in a year and a half, but I still check for cigarettes. Some habits are harder to break than others.

When I cook in the oven, I have to say “OFF” out loud, otherwise I will start to panic after I leave. Did I shut the oven off? Oh no. I’m gonna burn the house down!  I don’t know why I have this fear. I’ve never started a fire and in all the time that I’ve lived alone, I’ve never left the oven on. … Read More »


Death and Remembrance

Posted on March 24th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

Today, Sunday March 24th was the 4th anniversary of my father’s passing. I had a great day.

I cleaned the house a bit, did some laundry, went for a power walk, watched a bit of the Bay Ridge St. Paddy’s parade, took a nap, and made chicken breasts with spinach for dinner.  It was a great day.

When I got back from my walk, I had received a few messages from people who remembered what day it was. It was nice that they remembered. It was nice to know that the old man had an impact on their lives.

But it got me to start thinking, “Am I supposed to feel bad today?”

I think a lot of people get too caught up in dates and anniversaries. I know it’s a big catholic thing to visit gravesites on Birthdays and Mothers Day and things like that. I’m not … Read More »


Hold on Elizabeth, I’m comin…

Posted on March 22nd, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

For those of you who are too young to remember, or for those of you who posses degenerate minds, the title is a Redd Foxx reference, nothing more.

So on Thursday night, for reasons that escape me, I decided to work an overtime shift, rather than stay home, watch TV and eat yodels, which is what I should have done. The shift was uneventful for the most part, but around 5am, I ate my meal which consisted of a granny smith apple and a pre-made fruit cup of pineapples, strawberries and kiwi. I’ve never had kiwi before. To tell you the truth, it didn’t have much of a taste at all, so I’ll probably never have it again. But I felt really good about my decision to make a healthy food choice rather than the usual half-pound of salami-ham combo that I have a 5am.

I … Read More »


The writer’s journey

Posted on March 20th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

Since I have published the book, quite a few people have asked me about how I got started writing. Much to my amazement, I had no answer. I was at a loss for words. This is not a good situation for a story-teller. So I had to sit down and figure out the answer. Here it is.

Once upon a time, I went to school. It didn’t last very long, and there weren’t a lot of accolades or milestones of achievement, but for a period of time, I attended Fort Hamilton High School.

As a sophomore, I had an English teacher named Mrs. Bogash. She was a horrible little woman. On the first day of the semester, she made us go out and purchase a black composition notebook, and then gave us the assignment of writing a page a day, on any topic we chose. To … Read More »


How did we get here?

Posted on March 19th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

I woke up this morning determined to sit down an write a well-thought, articulate, relevant blog item. Actually, I woke up only because I had to move the car for the street sweeper, but then I decided to write the articulate blog. I thought I would pick a relevant political topic, vent about it for 5 or 6 paragraphs, and then go back to bed. But then I got stuck, not writers block stuck, just stuck as in, what the hell should I write about?  Should I pick one topic and rant about it, say gun control, or gay marriage? What about the lack of civility in the media? That’s certainly relevant. It’s a little boring, but still. I thought about simply writing about the great divide between the right and the left, and how it affects our lives, until I realized, no one … Read More »


Doctor My Eye

Posted on March 13th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

With apologies to Jackson Browne, Doctor My Nose…

But I digress…

See, I haven’t told anyone yet, but I’m dying. Not today, or this week, but I am dying. Everyone is dying of course, thats a fact, but I’m going out a little quicker and a little louder than the rest of you. Of this I’m sure. What I’m not sure of yet, is why?

But I digress…

A few years ago, I was on the verge of making a major personal and career breakthrough. After leaving my soft, cushy job I went to broadcasting school. I got a great internship and a job doing voice-overs for major league baseball. Soon after that, I made the semi-finals of WFAN’s fantasy phenom contest. I didn’t win the contest, or get the gig, but I was on my way. Fame, fortune, and personal satisfaction were right … Read More »


Writers Block

Posted on March 11th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

First of all, let me take a moment to thank everyone who has purchased the book, or commented on the book, or supported my efforts. I truly appreciate it. My next mission is to get people to log back onto Amazon in order to post a review. It hasn’t been easy.  Several weeks ago, a semi-famous author posted that she needed some assistance with her newest tome. She was looking for people to read and review her short story that was being published in Kindle form. I jumped at the chance. I quickly responded, and she sent me a copy of the manuscript which I eagerly read and reviewed. It was a good story; an essay about the perils of fame and dating and whatnot. I liked the story on it’s merits but I made sure that I gave it … Read More »


The Jefferson Party

Posted on March 4th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

Sometimes I get bored. Sometimes my mind wanders to funny places. Yesterday, as I was experimenting with my new MAC Book, I decided to run for office. Not sure which office, but I decided to run anyway. Now, given my lack of education, my sordid past, my shakey present, my complete lack of ambition, and the fact that I don’t even have enough extra cash for the filing fees, I couldn’t possibly run for dog catcher in an all cat town. Be that as it may, I started a new political party. It’s called the Jefferson Party. Named after George Jefferson.  OK, Just kidding.  Here is our platform. If anyone wants to join, send a check to me….   Jim McAllen

The Jefferson party platform:

 Adults should have the right to marry whomever they choose.

Women have the right to decide what to … Read More »


Sunday on the PATH

Posted on February 24th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

Despite the rats and the garbage and the bums and the smell, I love the trains. I love the rocking of the train. I love the characters on the train.  I love how quickly I can lose myself in a book or a magazine. On Sunday’s, the train is usually filled with tourists and other interesting people. When I ride the PATH train into NJ, it’s usually too crowded to find a seat, so I’m forced to stand. When this happens, I usually find other ways to amuse myself. Today was interesting.

As I stood on the platform of the 14th street PATH station, I became aware of a young guy moving behind me. He walked directly up to a young chick on the platform. Right away he started his rap. He commented on her gloves, they were thick, fingerless gloves. He … Read More »


Humbled… Now what?

Posted on February 24th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

With the release of what I hope will be the first of many literary efforts, this week has turned out to be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. To finally see my work in printed form was a pretty surreal moment. I’ve been getting packages from Amazon.com for nearly 20 years now, but to open the package and see your name on a glossy new book, well that’s an experience that I won’t soon forget. Then to have so many of my friends and family respond to the release in a positive way, well that was just down right humbling, and as well all know, I’m not easily humbled. The initial response has been more than I could have hope for, but now what?  How do I market this book so that I can reach an audience wider than my facebook friends? … Read More »


Day of Reckoning

Posted on February 21st, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 2 comments

So today is the first day that purchased books will be arriving in the mailboxes of anxious readers. To say I’m nervous and excited would be an understatement.  As of last night, 38 copies were purchased. I only need 139,962 more and I can retire. One book at a time. Despite my misgivings, I am really excited to receive feedback. Being that it’s a collection of 20 different stories, I’m sure that some will be liked while others discarded. I’m interested to see which is which. Although I won’t say at this point, but I do have my favorites, and there are others that I don’t like at all. I was tempted to leave them out of the book, but I was convinced by someone with an objective eye, to leave them in. “Just because you don’t like them, doesn’t mean … Read More »


Two Lives – Different directions

Posted on February 21st, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

Yesterday, I went to the wake of my grandmother’s younger brother. Joseph Salzano was 89. He was the father of 6 and the grandfather on many more and from all accounts, he was a pretty good guy.  As we like to say, he had a pretty good run.   I wasn’t close with the man, but my mother loved him and spoke glowingly of him. He grew up during the war, and served his country proudly after the war. In short, it was a life well-lived. A life to be proud of.

When I returned home in the evening, I received word that an old friend had passed away. She was only 47, and she died of a drug OD in Florida. I always knew that I would get the call, but you’re still not prepared when you get it.  She … Read More »


Finally Part Two!!!

Posted on February 19th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

Lordy, Lordy. Much to my surprise, it did not take 5-7 days. It took less that 24 hours, but finally, the book is published.

Split Rock Road is on Amazon and ready to be purchased. Be the first kid on your block to have a copy of this amazing book from this amazing new author.

Just click on the link and you are halfway there.

Thanks for your support.

JM

http://amzn.com/1481121367

 

 


Finally

Posted on February 19th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

Well, it took days and weeks and months and years, but i was finally able to submit the final proof of my book. Split Rock Road is on it’s way. Evidently, it takes 5-7 days for it to appear on Amazon. I was hoping it would be more like one. If I decide to publish on the Kindle, I can get it out there a lot quicker, but I’m hesitant to do so. I’ve never used the digital format – I’ve always been a book man – and I think that’s how I want people to discover me as well. I know that it may be archaic thinking on my part, and I might change my mind in the next few days (or hours), but for now, that’s the direction I’m going in.  For the moment, I’m going to let … Read More »


Hello Self Doubt. Nice to see you again.

Posted on February 14th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

The third proof of the book is complete. It’s been read and re-read and proof-read and then edited and re-edited, and well.. you get the picture. The Cover looks great. The interior is great. It’s professionally formatted and edited. It’s ready to go. Only problem is I can’t hit the button. Once I do, it goes out to the reviewers and out to the world and that terrifies me. What if I didn’t capitalize New Jersey? Or worse yet, what if I spelled my name wrong.
The simple fact is I’m drowning in self-doubt. All artists do at some point, but this is the first time that I’ve actually put something of mine out into the word in a big way. Ok, sure there are those skits I posted on YouTube, but they were just that. Skits. These stories are a … Read More »


Impatiently Waiting

Posted on February 12th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

So the 2nd round of proofs has arrived, and as expected, there were additional changes to be made.  The cover looks amazing, and I’m really happy with the new photo, but after finding a misplaced comma, I was left with no choice but to go over the entire book with a fine-tooth comb.  It’s funny, but now I think I understand why musicians don’t listen to their own records, all they hear are the mistakes.

At the time that I wrote each of the stories, they all had a different meaning to me. Some were like children that needed protection and nurturing, and others were like bad cousins that you hated visiting, but they were family nonetheless. I’m not sure how many times I have read each story, but I’m sure it’s in the hundreds. I wonder if I can even … Read More »


Proof #2 – Submitted

Posted on February 6th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

 

I have submitted the second proof of the book, and I am eagerly awaiting my copies in the mail. I’m really hoping that I got all the typos and misplaced commas out of the manuscript because the waiting is killing me.  After receiving the first copy, I wanted to re-write every sentence of every story until someone reminded me that when making Born To Run, Springsteen kept wanting to fix it and add to it and change it, until Landau convinced him to put it out telling him, once it’s out you won’t be listening to it anyway. Pretty sage advice.

The other problem is that my new projects have stagnated while waiting to complete the book. One is a screenplay and the other is a full length novel, but I really can’t dive into them until I finally give birth to the … Read More »


The End of Time

Posted on February 4th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

So the Mayans may have been wrong about the date, but we certainly are near the end times. And technology is the reason.
Yesterday, as I traveled to work on the PATH train. I was blessed by the opportunity to witness the end first hand. As I sat down, next to a pre-fab Asian hipster in skinny jeans and a checkered pea cap, I looked over and saw that he was watching something on his mobile device.

Now, I love watching youtube videos of cats that flush toilets as much as the next guy, but this nimrod was watching a video of… Pen-spinning…
Yes, Pen-spinning.
Somehow people have made a sport out of what people do while waiting for their next thought to happen by, and this clown was watching videos of it. Hipster boy was wasting his idle time by watching how other … Read More »


Book – Take two

Posted on February 3rd, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 1 Comment

Ok, so the first proof copy of the book came two weeks ago and it looked great. Really professional. I was really proud of my accomplishment until I started scanning for errors. I found a couple of formatting errors right away. Not a big deal, but then as I began to re-read the stories, that artistic doubt started to creep in. At first I just wanted to clean up some of the sentences, but the more I looked, the more I hated the stories. At one point I was ready to start over from scratch. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed (not mine obviously) and I was able to chase away the demons and scale back my ambition. I did rearrange the running order of the stories, placing Love and Lizards up front, but other than that and some other cosmetic changes, … Read More »


Two Doc con’t

Posted on January 30th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

So I’m back from my ENT, and as can be expected, he thinks surgery is the best option. I wasn’t surprised by this decision, nor was I upset. After we spoke about the procedure he asked,

“Is there anything else you’d like me to do?”

“You mean, cosmetically?” I asked innocently.  “Well, he said. I see that it’s a bit crooked at the top. I could adjust that while I’m in there. Shave the bone and add some cartilage.”

“And that will give the appearance of being smaller?

“Oh no. It will be bigger.

BIGGER?  Are you serious?  I’ve been living with his Dago Proboscis for nearly 50 years and you want to make it bigger?

I’ll pass on the cosmetics, thank you.


Two Doc Day

Posted on January 30th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

Ah yes, I’m up at this unusual hour because I have not one, but two doctors appointments in the city today. One with an allergist, and one with an ENT. The ENT is going to determine if my misspent youth is the cause of my breathing difficulties, and to see if surgery is the remedy. Maybe I should have him shave down my nose while he’s in there. Maybe I’ll get Depp’s nose, or Pitt’s. God knows I’ve been living with Sean Penn’s nose for long enough. I’m not really looking forward to battling the early morning subway cretins either, but off I go. I’ll update you all later.

See ya in heaven,
J. Mac


Day One

Posted on January 29th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. 3 comments

Welcome,

As I’m sure you’ve already noticed, I have a brand new webpage, which I am going to use to promote my book and report on its progress. I’m sure that I will also use this forum to rant and rave as I usually do, but hopefully in a more articulate manner than I use on Facebook.  I also intend to post some of my screenplays here, which you can download and read at your leisure. If the mood strikes you, you can comment and rant as you see fit. Please feel free to mention this site to your friends and family and teachers and co-workers, strangers on the train, etc.

Currently, the first draft of the book is complete, and I received a lovely proof copy from the people at CreateSpace.  Of course I was proud and amazed for about 5 minutes, after … Read More »