Category Archives: Day In the Life

Ketchup With Us #24: Perfect The First Timing

Ms Mel and ODNT want to know about a significant first day in your life … of school, work, parenthood, rehab, veganism, prison, whatever you want – in 57 woids or less. Ketchup With Us

Not only is the timing of this prompt just about perfect, the incident has that element as well 😉

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August 14, 2003- New job! My boss (also her first day – revamped department) admits she doesn’t get along with computers. It’s a busy day as we set up; later everyone is chatting and she gently bumps my monitor. The lights go out at that instant. “What did I do?!” Yep, the Northeast blackout – my boss caused it.

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Filed under Day In the Life, Ketchup With Us, New York City, Working

Signs of the Times III

Welcome to another chapter in this fine series. Not that there is a shortage of wisdom around, I just don’t feel like editing out the crudely exaggerated genitalia that accompanies it.

thvrg5
On a mailbox across from a school. I guess the best life lessons are learned outside the classroom.

g00df0r7
Proof that fortune cookies are as authentic as pro wrestling.
Well no, I take that back. Nothing is more real than wrasslin’.

50rr33
No idea to whom this was intended, but I am willing to bet that someone else saw this, and thought the person who done them wrong thunk up this creative apology placement, and forgave them.

frevel0n3
Written on one of the beams on the Brooklyn Bridge. 80’s references always melt my heart.

v1p33
4/5/6 station, corner of Canal & Lafayette. You need your gold card to get into this club.
It’s overpriced, hot, crowded and noisy, supposedly part of the twisted romantic vibe, because everyone wants in.

bird442
Side Street of The South Street Seaport. And here, you thought they missed your special day!

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Filed under Day In the Life, Humor, Life, Life in NYC, New York City, Photo Blogs, Photography, Wisdom

Scintilla Project: A Lesson Not Soon Forgotten

Yes I have signed up for Scintilla ’13! Three days in a row, officially a streak.

A: Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Write about a time when you taught someone a lesson you didn’t want to teach.
B: Talk about a time when you were driving and you sang in the car, all alone. Why do you remember this song and that stretch of road?

I’ll take on prompt A.

_____________
There are times, education degree or not, when you have to take someone aside for some schoolin’. You don’t get paid extra for it, but they will remember you like a favorite (or hated) teacher.

I got a call from the head of another department. Apparently he was upset that a condition was not being waived for him, and it was based on someone in my area’s decision.

“Well it’s his personal preference. No exceptions. My dept. head feels it is a reasonable one, and many others feel that way.”

“I’ve been here 25 years. He’s…what?” Ah yes, the ol’ seniority rule.

“Like I said, it’s  an individual decision; you have probably been in this situation as well.“

“Well then I am going speak with someone in the (even higher up office).“

And then the click. You know – *click*

That’s the sound of a phone hanging up on me.

Wait, what? Oh no he didn’t! Apparently, he did!

It comes out before I can stop it. I scramble at the buttons and put the phone on the cradle. (I think I was trying to reach through to the phone to strangle him) “You mofo (yes, yes, you know I said the whole thing)! Hanging up on me?!” I am enraged but also mad with glee at this point. I settled myself down for a moment, calmly told my assistant to leave the office, and picked up the phone.

Oh yes, my phone has caller ID on it, and a keyboard. Seeing as he proudly announced his name and department (and quarter century of schmuckery, it was no issue to call him back. “Hello?” He sounded a little wary, unsure as to who was calling. Obviously he’s not a detective.

“Hello this is Peter, we just spoke?! I don’t know how you speak with the people in your department, but where we are, we don’t tolerate hangups. It’s rude, it’s unprofessional and I do not tolerate it. And it’s not something we would expect it from someone who has been here 25 years.” Yes, in one uninterrupted breath.

I could tell his flustering and attempting to interrupt, but when you are dealing with an undiluted arrogance, it bounces back quickly. “Oh! Well I didn’t realize I hung up without saying goodbye.”

“Well that’s what you did.”

“Well, I’m sorry if you were offended by that.” Ah the official half-apology of The Asshole.

“Ok well I trust this will not happen again. If you have anything else to say on the situation, speak with my supervisor. Goodbye.”

I had my finger on the cradle for my own hang-up, we tied.

_____________

Like Socrates said, “You can’t fix stupid.”

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Filed under Creative Writing, Day In the Life, Life, Scintilla Project, Working

SoC Sunday: I Don’t Do Mondays

I found this prompt through Erin Margolin, who linked up a post from Ms Nicola, who posted it on Jana’s Thinking Place. So hey, you and I have at least a couple new people to follow, thank and be told what to do, and don’t you give met that look, mister man prompted by. You’re welcome!

Anydoogiehowsers, the prompt is How would you spend your last 24 hours if that’s all you had left? It’s to be written in Stream of Consciousness, which is perfect for Sunday mornings; prompts for Monday morning should be written in annoyance and a brain still warming up like a 37 year old engine. Bangles songs nonwithstanding.

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24 hours and counting – will it look like this counter that I have set to make sure that I follow this rule? That would be more ominous. I wouldn’t have the sound or even vibration. As if it would matter. Well first I would start my day with a breakfast of a croissant and sausage. That’s what I had this morning. Well I would add an egg, this way I don’t get edgy all day. Then again, better to have it all end before MONDAY. I don’t have much to do so maybe a trip to central park and take some last photos. It’s a park by our standards, which doesn’t say much. Seriously how many of you see mountains and forests on your way to work. I treasure the sounds of the few birds that chirp sweetly on low mornings like this. Dinner. Would I make it my damn self or risk going to the finest restaurant in town and WAIT. Hell no. I could just pick up a steak and some friends. Let everyone cook together. A fine meal with fine friends, and a fine wine *Da Vini Chanti works every time. My bank account, well I would donate a chunk of course. Friends family, charities, and maybe along my adventure that day a little to those who would need it. (The salvation army buckets aren’t around, that might help things). A letter to everyone or a fond farewell in person recorded hell people whip out their cell phones for every cheesy concert. And I’m twice as awesome and will be remembered years later…2, 1…

BUZZZZZZZ

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Filed under Day In the Life, Life, Prompts, SoC Sunday, Stream of Consciousness, Wine, Writing, Writing Challenges

The Eve of the Storm

For the past 5 days NY’ers have been advised to prepare for Hurricane Sandy, and she is now upon the Eastern seaboard. I am in Zone B, so it’s windy and a bit rainy right now.

Many people are still skeptical, since last year Irene was not as bad as anticipated-but new year, new hurricane, new rules. People are still going to work, and driving around. No last minute buying of supplies, at least at the corner pharmacy. I could still get milk and bread yesterday (though powdered milk is actually more sensible), but the deli was packed (hurricane or not, ham was on sale!). A guy at the store debated about buying pet food – ‘just in case’. In case your pets turn against you? In case you have to decide between eating pet food or each other?! Everyone is making fun of Bloomberg’s attempts at Spanish (hey he’s trying) rather than what he is saying. Newscasters are oohing and aahhing over water levels. Chris Christie’s blunt dry humor, and reassuring remarks are well received.

I’m off today – the MTA is shut down, and I was just informed that work is closed tomorrow as well. I do have the things I need, in case power goes out – since the lines by my house don’t need to go down for me to be put in the dark. They are estimating power outages for several days (which means people in Queens will take about a month). Phone is charged. I haven’t wanted to start a post in case power shuts off, but maybe I will think up some hurricane (Or Bob Ross – it’s his birthday!) haikus, maybe scratch some notes for trifecta or the Zombie Bunnies to pass the time.

So all is well for now, the worst is due tonight. Wish us well.

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Filed under Day In the Life, Life, Weather, Writing

Signs of the Times II

I appreciate that you all enjoyed the first installment, which kept me thinking and looking for some more things that define the city, how I see it, and the way we work off each other, good or bad.

Sometimes, I don’t even need to step out of my house to get a sense of the absurdity. If the 24 hour power is so good, why do I need it twice a day? When something says 24 hours, I assume it means one dose, swig, grenade or brrraaaiiinnsss. I get the idea, I just wish they had put some inferences in there, “24 hour protection IF you use it twice a day” and not just that asterisk. That might require a bigger label though, which is not very eco-friendly of me. Also they are assuming you understand that ‘twice a day’ means every 12 hours and not twice in the same hour, and yelling “DONE!” in the bathroom, which may make people think you cleared the pipes for the day (and used the spray), and are good for THAT for the next 24 hours.

There’s a strip mall in the area I grew up in. It was built in the 70’s and pretty much every store has changed, along with the signs. Logos, chain stores of every product from shoes, video rentals and as you can see by Golden Krust, specialty foods. The signs USED to be generic: ‘Pharmacy’, ‘Stationary’, ‘Cleaners’, ‘Law Office’ (which actually is still there). However, ‘Pizza’ I am happy to see, still is there, old style sign and all. It brought me back to my childhood, going there at lunchtime with friends during my elementary years. I didn’t just take a photo, I went in (the pizza slice on my front page is from there). The people behind the counter were different, so maybe the family is hiring others, but that stove was exactly the same. So was the slice. It really brought me back and is still what I gauge a slice by.

The bathroom wall of a bar/club in the NYC. Won’t say which one, since really, this could be any and every of the thousand. Wise words, proclamations, and affirmations are scrawled everywhere, even in spots some would consider unreachable. This one stood out for me. Everyone truly is a winner.

A corner in lower NYC/Chinatown. Get the message? Good.


Somebody loves ya. Somebody besides Ms. LV. Always good to know.

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Filed under Culture, Day In the Life, Life, Photography

Signs Of The Times

Since signs are put up to inform us, sometimes we need to give a reply, or challenge their one-sided orders. Other times, we are speechless. Here are a few that I have come upon in my travels around the city.


A more accurate bus schedule. The sloppiness of the writing really captures the rage.


Apparently Richie is more hazardous than asbestos, quick-dry cement and/or falling steel beams. If you absolutely have to be near Richie, always wear your goggles.


A sign on the Coney Island Boardwalk. Mmm Tacowiches! Doesn’t matter though; when you are in CI, why get anything other than a Nathan’s hot dog?


Another sign directed towards the MTA. The anger is supplemented by emoti-glyphics. No love for the Q train huh? The Q and N run along the same line anyway through Manhattan; this person obviously needs the N to Astoria, Queens. Or it’s just a general bitterness, which is completely understandable.


A glove that someone lost, which was carefully placed in that position to be (hopefully) found if its owner retraced his steps. Then again, he might come upon it, and seeing that his glove is giving him the finger for losing him, might get in a huff and say “Well, if that’s the way you feel, I don’t need you or your partner!”, and then throw the other glove at it, which would work out for someone who needed gloves badly enough to overlook the anger/abandonment issues that these gloves have. (I just said gloves 6 times, including right now.)

As with each day, not EVERYTHING I see is negative. For instance, one of the various notes scrawled on the Brooklyn Bridge scaffolding.

Its a hot and sunny Friday, so why not. I indulged the sign. Hopefully, you did as well!

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Filed under Complaints, Day In the Life, Humor, Life, Photography

The Ol’ Take and Give

No I haven’t gone anywhere. After a few busy weeks, I have decided that work can wait a little and I can return to my diligence of reading your blogs and other more interesting activities, especially in light of a few important wordpress-related honors.

Firstly, thank you for your notes and comments thus far, especially with The Zombie Bunnies saga, which will continue again very soon. I write it as I go, but have managed to weave a plothole-less story so far! I MIGHT actually write something that is not guided by prompts!

Secondly I got this award:

From Sheila Hurst. Nope no fancy moniker, but that’s the point. Her writing is just as forward and honest. Check her out!

Ironically my blog was ‘spoesda have more varied ideas but then Zombie Bunnies came along from those fateful Trifecta prompts, but I accept this anyway!

I also made the short list from CookieMama. She cooks. She’s a Mama. She also writes, but left that part out. She does all three things awesomely.

With great power and accolades, come assignments. This is two parts. First, I have to post 7 things about me.

  1. My name isn’t Brian Tomahawk, its Peter Brain-Tomahawk. Well not exactly.
  2. Every time I type the word ‘the’, it comes out as ‘teh’. EVERY time. Autocorrect is absolutely pissed off at me.
  3. I am currently taking a Chinese language course (speaking/Pinyin only, not characters). I am enjoying it immensely, probably because it is voluntary, not required. The learnin’ never stops.
  4. I eschew $100 million blockbusters for cheesy B horror movies. You can pretty much figure out that is where my inspiration for Zombie Bunnies comes from. If ZB ever becomes a movie, I would prefer if James Cameron stayed far away from it.
  5. My drawing style is Cro-Magnon. There are petroglyphs that are Sistine Chapels in comparison, which means that if you play Draw Something and/or Pictionary with me, it’s actually MORE fun, because bad drawings are hilarious then. I do take damn good pictures though, so that is my other creative expressivity.
  6. I have two cats. Yes I will do a “Show and Tell” on them, since you just read that and said “AWW KITTIES!”
  7. My favorite pizza toppings are onions, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, olives and pepperoni. I have never had ham/pineapple on a slice, which does not appeal to me at all. The only thing that could be worse is BBQ chicken pizza.

Second part – I recommend people to you. Basically you should read and follow them all.

OldDogNewTits – come for the name, stay for the satire. She’s a ticking time bomb…of hilarity! So forget the bomb squad, just cut whatever wire you want.

Lance’s life has a soundtrack, a plot and a message. So he’s like your favorite 80’s movie.

Everyday Tangents — a tangent or rant every day keeps us sane. She’s a student – you were once. She likes ketchup, and you don’t call it catsup either (who the hell does?). So you have so much in common. Now…GO!

BudgetCookingBlog – A professional chef shows us how to make the quick and easy meal look and taste gourmet-style, proving that no recipe is ‘above’ you.

OhmygawdjustdowhatIsay – . Yes she is a mom. If you are a mom, you’ve wanted to scream that once or twice and can relate, so go and bond. If you had a mom, then go to her and see what you probably put your own mother through. Then call your mom and apologize for not just doing what she said when she said it. Because she said so that’s why.

SightsNBytes shares the images and memories that run through his mind and out his fingers. THAT is what blogging is all about. He also has a storyline ongoing right now, that you need to get in on!

BlueJellyBeans – Again, quick and do-able recipes that feed your souls as well. I am backed up with her recipe ideas; we should all have such problems. Also Blueberry Jelly Belly beans are my favorite.

JenniferWorrell – There is a lesson here; if you have the stories to tell that she does, then you are obligated to tell them. It is…your destiny.

JannaTWrites — A fellow dutiful Trifectan, she can mold any prompt into a quality entry, and it can come from any direction. One thing is guaranteed, it will be a good read.

Imelda — A newbie to me at least, so if you start reading her now, we’ll both discover her honest, frank writing/poetry/photos, and brag about how we knew her back when.

Basically though, anyone here should click on everyone up there, but also down there, who comments or likes this or any of my blog posts – the thing you have in common is that you are both here, so check each other out. Guaranteed you will like what you see.

My apologies if I missed you this time around, especially if I missed you blogspotters, since I have to check 2 different favorites menus; you will make it to my blogroll, whenever I get around to putting it up (if you know of a good format for it, let me know).

Thanks again! We will return to our regularly scheduled ZB mayhem by week’s end. Till then, time to catsup with you all.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Day In the Life, Life, Rants, Uncategorized, Writing

WayBack Wednesday – The Ice Cream Man

Today’s Wayback Wednesday has been pre-empted. Well sort of. I have the blog planned, and it is an 80’s clip preciously dug up from YouTube, but as I was searching around I came across a video clip, and it brought me back to summers while growing up. So inspiration grabbed me and I built on it.

I’m posting it first, but I would recommend reading the story first, then watching. It will be worth it, I promise ;).

When I was younger, I lived in a section of Brooklyn that was a complex of tall apartment buildings. It was large, more populated than some national cities, but there were common place, people and other fixtures of the community. One of those people was “Johnny the Ice Cream Man”. He drove a white pickup with the frayed, faded pictures of various ice creams scattered along the refrigerated truck. You’d hear the ‘jingle jingle jingle’ of the row of small bronze bells on the top of the windshield that he pulled as he parked down the loop I lived near. My mom gave my sister and I enough for an ice cream each when she knew we’d be out when he came around. I varied what I would get each time, but “Bubble-O Bill” was a favorite, as it was ice cream with a big gumball nose. That, or an ‘Italian ice’ in a yellow cardboard box; which you always let soften a bit so you could flip it over and scrape off the settled ‘flavor’ on the bottom.

That's about as close actual fruit will come to those ices.

He always knew, without looking, if he had what you asked for, and where it was. The only openings were two small latched doors, and he would duck his head in, sometimes up to his waist, looking for ice cream, and emerge with your treat.

Johnny was about average height, and skinny, always wearing brown pants and a blue shirt. He was balding with white/gray wisps of hair from a comb-over covering his scalp blowing in the breeze. His exposed skin (arms and face) was dark, the tone that older Italian men get when they spend all day in the sun for years. When you paid him, he’d give you your change ‘chink chink’ from the coin slot machine he had attached to his belt.

If you bought an Italian ice, and wanted one of those flat wood spoons, you’d go to the passenger seat of his car where an old man, undoubtedly his father, would give it to you, as well as these little pink candies wrapped in opaque plastic. They weren’t flavorful, had the consistency somewhere between gum and regular candy, and were always ice cold, but you took one anyway. It was free, and the old man liked doing something.

He had a good portion of the ice cream route in our community, and did rounds several times a day from late spring to early fall. I’m positive he was the first ‘owner’ of that route, as the community was built in the 70’s (I grew up in the 80’s), and I can imagine he made a good return on the investment. Even in his old age he wouldn’t quit it; he’d work until he went to his grave, probably just like his old man. I could see it on Johnny’s face already in his late 30’s early 40’s; that tired, non-smiling, but still friendly way in which he worked.

Some years later he got a new truck, a black pickup, but kept the refrigerated section, which now contrasted in color and age. I had stopped getting ice cream for a while by then, but one summer afternoon after I graduated high school, I saw him coming down the loop of the section I had been hanging out in with some friends. He was by himself this time, but physically, he looked the same, just maybe 10 years older. By this time he had sodas as well, so I bought a Clearly Canadian Black Cherry clear soda from him (Damn I still remember that like it just happened). He gave me a nod, I thought maybe I saw the recognition flicker in his eyes, but I didn’t pursue it.

So seeing that video brought me back. It looks like he went bald by that time, and went through yet another truck. You see how he greeted the person taking the video; just remembering names and such brought grown men back to their childhood again, with bragging rights on how long they knew him.

At 26 seconds you see it. When I did, it was like a time warp. Later you’ll see his hand go to his waist for the change dispenser. I’d bet that it was the same one.

I checked around, found out he died in July 2009.

Thanks Johnny, for all that ice cream and for the memories that won’t melt.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Day In the Life, Life, Retro, Uncategorized, Wayback wednesday

Scintilla Project; First Job

So I joined the Scintilla Project, I think. I am pretty sure this is a day late, but hey, it’s done!

My first job. I was 17. It was the local pharmacy/has the same crap as a supermarket but with slightly higher prices store.

I mean really what else should it have, besides–
• Rx
• Lottery
• Cigs
• Candy
?

Nothing, that’s what.

So depending on when you got in for your shift, you either worked in the back area helping fill Rx’es or running the lottery machine, or worked the front where you rang up everything else. Sometimes it didn’t matter; if you didn’t work the front enough, there were grumbles that you were slacking, since it was the busiest part by far.

Each one was a little slice of Hell.

Well first, co-workers were ok, I went to school with half of them anyway- so that was never really an issue. Plus I’m so friggin loveable.

Prescriptions weren’t too bad a racket, except that you didn’t know if there was something wrong with the script, insurance, dosage or availability until after the customer left (well over half the time), and you had given them a time frame, which according to them makes you legally/honor/duty bound. So then they show up and it ain’t ready, and you get chewed out. Awesome!

Lottery was actually fun in a demented pleasure or sociological/anthropological way. You got to see humans at their most desperate and superstitious. People who played sheets of various numbers every day, carefully added up. The guy who would think his lucky numbers up right there, sometimes changing them halfway through, sometimes right after you entered them, in which case you had to void them out and stop “jinxing [his] good luck by entering numbers too fast.” Yep, actual quote. You don’t forget winning phrases like that. You get them tattooed on your forearm, then pass it off as something in Proverbs to anyone who asks, years later. Anyway, there was the lady who brought in the supermarket sale ads, since winning numbers can be hidden within the codes (Dan Brown would later steal this concept). For instance – hmm creamed corn on sale, 2 cans for 99 cents? Gimme 299, 50 straight 50 box. (if you have never played pick 3/pick 4 games, the choices mean that you can bet that it will come out straight, or in some combination). I never recall any of these people coming in with big wins; maybe a box win which paid a whopping $40, which to the lady who bet $30 a day, mean a free day’s picks (which wouldn’t win).

No she never came in to play a ticket. I can say this because she is smiling.

In the front was candy. All kinds. From chips, candy bars, snack cakes and everything in between. There were fish bowls full of small candies, marked 5 or 10 cents. I couldn’t be bothered to remember which was which, so when I was on shift, all that crap was a nickel. I was a bigger hero than Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder version) himself. Most kids grabbed the small bags of chips for a quarter, or the Honey Buns, which were just cheap versions of cinnamon buns or something. Considering that half the frosting was melted to the plastic, I somehow never desired one. This was also around the time Coca-Cola was promoting their vintage type glass bottles, so kids would have those to wash down the candy with. Trouble was, they always asked to have it opened. The bottle opener we had was a twist type and was worn bald. So they asked what they were supposed to use, and I would just shrug in a matter of not giving a rats assy way.

Use your teeth or something. Whatever, just do it on your way out.

Cigarettes. Everyone smoked Marlboro. Seriously we restocked those twice a day, but barely ever the others. Except the old ladies, who smoked Chesterfields*. A cute girl I knew and liked tried to get me to sell her smokes. I refused, which didn’t lessen my chances of actually hooking up with her, since it was about 0% anyway. On the flip side – would it have won her over and I could have gotten 15 minutes in the building staircase with her and her ashtray breath? Wondering what could have been still doesn’t keep me up any nights.

*I should mention that the Lucky numbers guy smoked…no not Lucky’s haha, but Kools. Yes he smoked Kools. He would also steal caramel candies. I guess my markdown wasn’t enough.

So I worked there a whopping 4 months, when I turned 18, graduated high school, dumped my girlfriend and eh, just stopped showing up. By that point they were tired of my dismissive shrugs, and were probably losing thousands of dollars from caramel sales.

College would be a month away, and that’s when I learned to grow up a lot.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Day In the Life, Humor, Life, Retro