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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 »