Friday, July 31, 2009

Around The Internets

Here's a couple of sites I've been getting some giggles off of:

You Suck at Craigslist - Every time I go to this site I laugh at something and then weep at the sorry state of our education system.

There, I Fixed It: Epic Kludges and Jury Rigs - Everyday people using every day items to make sometimes brilliant, sometimes hilarious repairs and inventions.

Stuyvesant Town's Lux Living - A site only locals might appreciate. All about the trials and tribulations of a secret city oasis that has been taken over by a faceless conglomerate and run into the ground.

Look at this fucking hipster
- Hilarious!

Dlisted - Obviously not new, but I just started reading regularly and I love the "no prisoners, no boundaries" writing style.

I will more than likely post through the weekend but in case I'm not around, these should keep you busy. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vogue Evolution On America's Best Dance Crew

America's Best Dance Crew is one of those MTV shows that I tend to watch in blocks by myself whenever I'm having a lazy Saturday afternoon. Because it's a little embarrassing to admit I kind of love it. The fourth season starts on Sunday, August 9 and will feature an openly gay group with some serious ties to the NYC ball culture.

I have no idea how this particular out, proud and in your face crew will be accepted on the ABDC stage, nor how well they will score considering judge Shane (Y'all) Sparks (Y'all) has a reputation as a bit of a homophobic asshole. Along with a rudimentary command of y'alls English. But of particular interest is Vogue Evolution crew member Leyomi Mizrahi from the House of Mizrahi. Here's another You Tube clip of Leyomi in a battle with one Kassandra Ebony. Check the :30 second mark when Mz. Leyomi (red wig) unleashes a "Matrix dip" that gets the children screaming and all but ends the contest.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Schwarzenegger Kills California HIV Patients

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used his line-item veto on his state budget and decimated California HIV/AIDS services. The cuts curtailed state funding for HIV-related education (an 80% cut), prevention (80% cut), counseling (70% cut), testing (70%), primary medical care (50%), home care (50%) and housing (20%). Most shocking of all was a complete termination of all funding for the Office of AIDS' Therapeutic Monitoring Program.

This is the program that pays for viral-load and drug resistance testing for up to 35,000 working and middle-class California HIV/AIDS patients. Viral load testing is a vital part of HIV treatment and care. Your viral load test confirms that your HIV meds are working, and regular testing is an early warning system when and if they stop. Drug resistance testing is done right after your HIV diagnosis, and determines what treatments your body will/will not respond to. Drug resistance testing is also used if your treatment meds fail in order to determine which drugs need to be replaced.

According to Office of AIDS Chief Michelle Roland the Theraputic Monitoring Program is only 50% funded by the state, so people will still have some access. But that access will be diminished and harder to find. People with treatment failure may not find out about it until they are ill, and the chances of somebody with an active viral load transmitting the virus are increased.

"A population that is less successfully virally suppressed is more likely to transmit. We may see an increase in the HIV rate as a result."

Roland also said the massive reduction in funding for ordinary HIV testing (to see if one has the virus) means "there will be fewer people who know their status," which also will increase HIV transmission.

According to the LA AIDS Healthcare Foundation "Each new infection can mean up to $600,000 dollars in lifetime health care costs."

So you have to wonder, where the hell is the sense in saving $8 million today, when the potential cost is far, far greater in the future? Monetary considerations aside, this outrageously callous decision will more than likely cause many Californians (and other Americans) to fall ill and possibly die.

Nice move, Arnold.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hey, What's In Yer Blood?

T-Cells, apparently. And quite a few of the little fuckers, as my current T-Cell count clocked in at 1190, with an undetectable viral load. Which of course is very very good news for my continued existence. You are either happy about that statement or indifferent.

Also the iron supplements I take are doing their job as I am not anemic. My liver, kidneys and blood sugar levels are all normal. And while my total cholesterol is just slightly high, my HDL/LDL numbers ("good" versus "bad") cholesterol put me at, and I quote, "below average risk" for any heart problems. You'll be happy to know I do not have tuberculosis.

Most exciting news of the entire visit was my weigh-in. I lost almost 10 lbs. And since I would like to lose about 5 more, that celebratory dish of ice cream before bed last night is officially a once a week treat for now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

From My Cell Phone Cam

These giant daisies were being installed last week along the pedestrian plaza next to Madison Square Park on 23rd St. They are actually solar power collectors (you can see the panels if you circle round the back) so not only can you sit and enjoy a leisurely lunch, you can also plug in and recharge your tech goodies or find some dirty boy on Manhunt that's in a nearby building and needs a quick BJ.

For those that don't know/don't live here the city has basically created (read: plopped down) a bunch of pedestrian plaza's right in the middle of previously busy stretches of road in 3 different spots in or near midtown. They are a huge hit with the tourists (particularly the one in Times Square) and also with the lunchtime business crowd. But I know it's just a matter of time before a taxi or bus crashes wildly out of control and 86's some Milwaukee grandma in town to see a show. You read it here first.

On a lighter note, a ferocious storm blew in to town last night, with extremely high winds, wicked-cool lightning and rain that was falling alternately in sheets or horizontally. I was along the water on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River and got to enjoy the show in safety. Right after the worst of it was over, we were treated to this rainbow which seems to indicate there's a pot of gold to be had somewhere near the South Ferry terminal. I wish I had my regular camera as the rainbow was really quite beautiful.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Pollinated, Therefore I Am

Thanks to a hot tip from commenter Stephanie I discovered that tomato plants, while technically self-pollinating, are in reality, not so much. Apparently, the decided lack of bees inside my apartment means that the chances that any of the flowers that I've seen blossom on my tomato plant turning in to actual, edible tomatoes were slim at best. The single tomato I did manage to grow was more a happy accident, a triumph of nature if you will. However, in my (admittedly quick) research in to pollinating tomato plants (since I'm not a bee), I discovered a video that seems to recommend a simple if vigorous shake will do the trick. Failing that they recommend the annoying high school throwback finger-flick of the flowering bud as being equally effective. I gleefully spent a couple seconds this afternoon flick-flicking the one or two buds that are currently on the plant. I felt ridiculous and surprisingly a little dirty but if it works ...

My favorite A&E show, Intervention, just re-ran the episode that is right up there with my all-time favorite. While I used to think that no one could hold a candle to meth addict alcoholic Cristy from a couple of seasons back, I have fallen pretty hard for compressed air inhaling Allison from last year. Allison was a pre-med student that was in danger of permanently absolutely BAKING her brain with the chemicals in cans of computer duster. She crazily huffed up to 10 cans a day and then spent the bulk of the episode staring cross-eyed into the camera mourning her "painful" over-privileged childhood. Someone thoughtfully created a video. -via World of Wonder

Monday, July 20, 2009

Here and There

I had to show you what is going on in my kitchen "farm". The potted tomato plant that I bought a couple of months ago has grown like crazy. The plant itself is as big or bigger than many I've seen in a lot of gardens. I couldn't even get the height all captured in this snapshot. Remarkably, for such an enormous plant, It's only sprouted that one tiny tomato. It is ripe and ready for pickin' but it is only about the size of a golf ball. Somewhere between a cherry tomato and a Roma. And there are no other tomatoes anywhere on the plant. How hysterical will it be if I manage to grow a giant indoor tomato plant but only get that one single tomato all season?

I've been spending parts of my sunny afternoons hanging out on the Christopher St. Piers. It's a nice bike ride over there from the East side, and of course, the eye candy is top notch on any given day. This weekend it was absolutely packed with boys (and girls, and trannies) getting some vitamin D. I usually arrive around 2:30 or 3:00 and stay an hour and a half at most. Just enough time to catch a cat nap and lust after guys I'm too old for. I snapped this picture yesterday, to give you a sense of the huge crowd, but it made me a little nostalgic for the old pier.

When I first moved to NYC the Christopher St. Pier was still in a horrible state of decay. The end of it, deemed unsafe, was blocked off with fence and concrete barricades. Many gay men simply pried open the fence and hopped the barricades to claim a section of tar beach that faced an equally run-down Jersey City. While it was certainly not official policy, the end of the pier was clothing optional. I never dared to bare all at the time, but I would frequently simply show up and strip off whatever I was wearing down to my underwear. It felt modest compared to the avowed nudists who were always nearby. Occasionally, you'd encounter someone that would take advantage of the (relative) privacy to lazily spend the afternoon masturbating as the boats sailed by. I was never sure if it was self-gratification or advertising. Probably both.

And while I'm not one of those cranky middle-aged queens that constantly longs to recapture the days gone by and rail against (unavoidable) progress, I do on occasion miss that broken down, graffiti covered oasis of neglect. Like my lost (and wasted) youth, never to return, and probably best forgotten.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pretty Pictures

I've been noodling around with my Flickr page, uploading photos and editing what was already posted. I created a couple of albums so you can check out my Botanic Garden photos, photos from this years Gay Pride parade, as well as some personal and family photos. Many of them have already been posted on this blog but a few are brand new if you want to have a look.

Here's the link:

I'm off to the gym and the Greenmarket.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

I knew I was in trouble right after the interview began. I was contacted by the GM of an East side bar/restaurant, asking if I would like to interview for a job. It's a pretty busy place with a very busy bar crowd and a rooftop bar that opens in the summer. They play pop music really loud and have four or five GIANT screen TV's to broadcast big sports events or regular season games. Every time I've walked or biked by there they are usually pretty busy. Seemed right up my alley, so I quickly accepted an appointment for 6:00 yesterday. I arrived 5 minutes early and was escorted to a cocktail table inside at the end of the bar. I was glad I hadn't biked up as I thought of doing as it had turned oppressively hot and even in a polo shirt and khakis, I was sweating from the 10 block walk.

After cooling my heels for almost 20 minutes the manager that contacted me finally arrived. After we exchanged hellos and handshakes she opened with:

"How can I help you?"

I know I registered a little surprise but I explained that we had an interview apppointment.

"I see. Did you bring a resume?"

I had. But it was very clear to me that she had no idea who I was, she was not at all prepared to meet with me, indeed she didn't seem the least bit interested in interviewing me about the job. Instead she explained that they had started their busy season, with the rooftop bar being open, and were stretched thin and looking for help. She explained the hours and the insulting rate of pay and asked if I had any questions.

I asked when they were looking to hire and she nonchalantly said not for two weeks or so, which would put the new job starting in August. I'm assuming that their rooftop opened sometime around Memorial Day if not sooner.

I said I had no more questions but that was a lie. I was wondering why she made an interview appointment but seemingly had no idea I was coming or when. She was the one who responded to my resume, but she didn't have a copy of the resume I emailed and she barely glanced at the one I provided, so what was the point of asking me for it again? Why are they looking for extra help for the busy season but in no particular hurry to get someone in before said season is more than half over?

At the end of the interview she apologized for the noise and explained that it was difficult to do the interview because it was such a busy time. At which point I left my final question unasked. Than why did you schedule it that way?

Oh, and thanks for completely wasting my time. BITCH!

Since I don't want to send you in to the weekend on a down note, please enjoy this bit of a chuckle courtesy of I wish Riley could do this, I'd walk him uptown and have him torch that stupid bar.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Very Interesting

Gay Porn Times (The Adams Report) is reporting that the Executive Committee of International Mister Leather has issued a press release stating that bareback companies and retailers will no longer be allowed to participate in the marketplace in conjunction with their annual convention. 2009 IML has already been held in Chicago at the end of May. Here's what they have to say:

"Executive Committee of International Mr. Leather has decided that it will no longer allow participation in the IML Leather Market by any entity which promotes barebacking or distributes or sells any merchandise tending to promote or advocate barebacking. This restriction will also apply to distribution of gifts, postcards or any other information via our facilities. This policy takes effect immediately.” IML believes the time has come to take a more proactive stance against condomless sex. “Too many in our community believe HIV/AIDS is curable or manageable,” reads the press announcement. “Too few understand that HIV/AIDS infections dominate life. We believe that it is our duty to inform and educate and… it is our further obligation to do everything in our power to prevent future infections.”

This is very interesting because it seems (and I am stating this purely on what I've read and seen posted on other blogs and porn blogs) that a large and unapologetic component of IML lately has been bareback sex parties, "pig" play, and a lots and lots of multiple partner condomless sex. It will be interesting to see if there is any reaction, positive or negative (HAR!) around the interwebs. I also wonder if they plan on encouraging any outreach or education, or if they just plan on closing the barn door after the horses have run free.

UPDATE: Reactions and interesting comments found here and here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I spent part of this evening making a brand new resume. I have three interviews set up for jobs this week, only one of which I actually want. But when one of the employers answered my application by e-mail I discovered that since I switched over to Gmail for most of my correspondence that my resume and cover letter were displaying like shit. And considering part of my skill set includes the fact that I'm pretty computer literate I'm thinking it didn't make me look too competent. So I set about cutting and pasting and tweaking my papers as Google docs instead of in Word. Not too exciting I know. Especially considering I was supposed to go to Central Park to see the New York Philharmonic give a free concert. But I woke up with a back ache and some minor muscle spasms that made me cranky all day. And the idea of shopping for picnic food and being jostled by strangers all night long while sitting on a blanket just wasn't thrilling me at all so I skipped it.

I popped in to a Gay-A meeting today that was full of newcomers which I usually enjoy, but the meeting chair, who is generally an asshole anyway, decided not to enforce the four minute time limit on sharing and didn't seem to mind letting people go on and on about the same thing over and over for 8-10 minutes. Which doesn't sound that awful until you are fighting off sleep and sitting on an uncomfortable metal chair for an hour. Then it totally sucks.

Riley has taken on a new habit of sitting next to me as I read through blogs or answer job listings or really anything on the internets at all and just pathetically, maddeningly whining over and over again. Threats to beat him to death with a shovel only stop it for a few minutes. You would think he needs to go out but a)he usually just did and b) when I tried that it wasn't an urgent bathroom break, he was just bored and wanted attention. Which I happily give just not all damn night!

Told you I was cranky. I think I need some ice cream and a good night's sleep.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ryan Reynolds Is Green Lantern

Here's an incredibly awesome fan-made "trailer" for a Green Lantern feature film. The unbelievably talented fan-boy who made it cast Nathan Fillion in the role. But word comes today that Warner Bros. has settled on Ryan Reynolds to play Hal Jordan. And the thought of the delicious Mr. Reynolds in the skin tight GL one-piece has given me a boner all day.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Charles King: Obama No Friend to HIV Community

Housing Works President and CEO Charles King recently was asked to speak at the Philadelphia Prevention and Outreach Summit. He was supposed to speak on homelessness and HIV/AIDS prevention, but instead gave a spirited speech on AIDS Advocacy in the Obama Era. It's a great speech, full of thought provoking ideas, pie-in-the-sky advocacy, and more than a little pointed sarcasm directed at the Obama administration and a seemingly lack of serious commitment to addressing HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention in this country. Reportedly, while reaction to the speech was overwhelmingly positive, he did receive a smattering of hisses and boos, and a handful of people walked out midway through. I've snipped out his discussion of the four point plan issued by the Campaign to End AIDS as well as what he says about HIV/AIDS stigma and its root cause: Homophobia and an asinine refusal to talk as adults about sex.

"So let’s take a look at some of the things we really ought to be doing if we really want to end the AIDS epidemic. Five years ago, the Campaign to End AIDS distilled it down to four simple things:

Provide treatment, services and care, including housing, to every single HIV-positive person who needs it;

Implement prevention strategies that follow science and not ideology;

Ramp up research, not just for a cure or vaccine, but also for innovative prevention strategies such as vaginal and anal microbicides; and

End stigma against people living with AIDS and HIV.

Since C2EA developed this four-point platform, the research has advanced on several fronts. First, there have been a number of important studies released on the impact of early treatment. Two studies, released in the last 60 days, indicate that initiation of ARVs among people infected with HIV before the t-cells decline below 500 copies reduces mortality by more than 90 percent. This begs for a new standard of care that would require providers to offer HIV medications as soon as one is diagnosed. Yet that is not the standard anywhere in the United States or anywhere else in the world, notwithstanding a recommendation to that effect last summer by the US Section of the International AIDS Society. In the long run, implementation of this standard would save billions of dollars in treatment cost by prevention of opportunistic infections, but in the short term, it would make ADAP waiting lists soar. So we have yet to see advocates even begin to call for it.

Besides, without real health care reform, not some tinkering at the edges, we are still left in a situation where some 50 percent of people infected with HIV have no primary care provider…that’s in the United States, still, even after the economic crisis, the richest country in the history of the world.

As for services, they continue to be rationed, not along some rational mechanism, but most irrationally based on formulas that were developed nearly two decades ago. But how many people do we hear calling for rethinking Ryan White, perhaps along the lines of an entitlement such as was recommended by the Academy of Medicine report several years ago? No, all of AIDS Inc. has climbed on the band wagon for at least a three year reauthorization that would keep the same inequitable distribution of resources because we are all afraid of what we might lose if we made the legislation actually work for people living with the virus instead of the grantees and providers of services."

"Want to get more people tested? End stigma. And I am not just talking about stigma about HIV. I am talking about homophobia. I am talking about stigma about drug use. I am talking about our prudishness about SEX! How many women in American go every year faithfully putting their feet in the stirrups for their annual pap smear without ever being told that it’s a test for a sexually transmitted disease, much less being asked by the gynecologist about their sex life or having it suggested that they should have an anal pap smear too, because some 50 percent of American women have had anal sex, and that’s not counting finger play. Hey, guys, I’m not just talking to the gay men now, you ever had anyone stick a finger in your ass? Did anyone ever suggest to you that you might ought to have an anal pap smear for HPV, which just happens to be a precursor to rectal cancer in men and women?

I’ve got no problem with universal HIV testing every year or six months if the insurance companies want to pay for it, but how about if we just trained medical professionals to have honest conversations with their patients about sex and drug use and then offered the test where indicated? We could then use the money we save the insurance companies to make universal offerings of voluntary testing not just in prison, but in pre-arraignment detention centers, in mental health programs, in shelters for homeless people, in low income communities with high addiction rates and to men who are hooking up with other men. You get my drift."

Read the entire speech here.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Celebrity News

I spent the afternoon watching the Michael Jackson memorial service. Immediately after it was over I thought: "Well there's two hours of my life I'll never get back."

What a horror. While intentions may have been good, it seemed to highlight some of the things I couldn't stand about MJ. It was garish and overdone. Whatever emotion was expressed seemed artificial and staged, right down to Usher's ridiculously and conveniently timed "breakdown" at the very end of his "performance". As Michael Jackson got older and sank further into a world of delusion and madness, no doubt exacerbated by an addiction to drugs, his connection to what was real and his ability to convey it on stage disappeared as well, and that, above all else, was what prevented him from ever completing a "comeback". So in a way I guess this creepy, overly staged piece of fiction was a fitting tribute to a tragic but brilliant artist.

And what the hell happened to Mariah Carey's voice? People were commenting about her lack of control and that crazy constant hand waving she did but I thought it looked like she was literally trying to pluck the correct notes out of thin air, and she wasn't having too much success. It was awful, and the back-up (duet) singer they wisely partnered her up with was the only thing that saved the number.

In other news ...

Chaz Bono has announced that he has already completed his quest to accomplish gender reassignment. Cher's son fast-tracked his journey by finding a homeless man and EATING HIM. Holy shit!

Also, seeing Lionel Richie this afternoon reminded me that I saw him perform live a couple of weeks ago. It was at an obnoxiously rich man's 45th anniversary party, and the setting was so intimate that Lionel was literally about 10 feet from where I was standing. And you know what? Age agrees with Richie! Even up close he looks really good and his voice is still in fantastic shape. Take that, Mimi!

That Darn Cat!

As I reported from my visit to Buffalo, my arrival was precluded by the daring escape of one Fritzee the cat, who ran out when some friends of my niece left the door ajar. My niece took a stoic approach, and while they placed a newspaper ad and checked the animal shelter for lost cats, she decided that the cat was gone for good and quickly secured a new kitten to take it's place. This may have something to do with how she processes loss, and could be some insight in to her current difficulties, but that's another post.

Truthfully, I didn't see much chance that Fritzee would survive on the outside very well. She had been de-clawed, which meant hunting her own food would be next to impossible. Indeed, the only time she saw the outside was in a carrier to the vets' office or wherever my niece would take her. Making things more difficult, while my niece has spent many many days and nights sleeping at my ancestral homeland, Fritzee had only been there for a week or two the year before, and was completely unfamiliar to the neighborhood, the smells and whatever visual clues she would need to survive and find home. Although it's not like my old neighborhood is home to coyotes or bobcats, a house cat without claws could meet a terrible end any number of ways.

So it was with great surprise that I learned after a phone conversation on the 4th of July that at 5 am that morning, 13 days after going over the wall, Fritzee the cat found her way back home safe and sound. As my father related, both he and my niece were awakened by a cat loudly meowing. They assumed it was the new kitten, but after locating him they realized it was coming from outside the house. Indeed, the cat was outside my niece's bedroom window. Some trick considering she was sleeping on the 2nd floor. Apparently, there was some debate and disbelief that this could possibly be Fritzee, but when they removed the screen from the window, the cat leaped in to the bedroom. And they quickly realized that miraculously, Fritzee had survived and returned home. Even more remarkably, a cat with no claws had somehow made it up to the 2nd floor roof overhang to find the correct window. Somehow, either by climbing a tree or a fence or up on to the garage, she had made it back. She had obviously been fed, as she wasn't starving or dehydrated, and she was also clean. So a human being was more than likely looking out for her, but what the circumstances were, where she was, or how she came to leave will forever be a mystery.

As it stands now, my niece and her two cats are all living happily with my parents. Fritzee and my niece will probably be returning to her home in time for school to start, and the fate of Cat, the kitten without a name, is undecided. That's because Cat has turned out to be so wonderfully goofy that my father has admitted he's grown kind of fond of him, prompting my parents to consider making Cat a permanent resident. Either way, both cats are now safe and sound and have a nice home. They just don't particularly like each other right now.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Travel Ban For HIV+ Will Be Lifted "Soon"

Despite the fact that the policy change was signed into law last year by then-President Bush, it is expected that the US ban on HIV+ travelers will be lifted sometime near the end of the year. The Department of Health and Human Services is expected to post the new regulations followed by a three month comment and review period. Assuming no one in Congress acts to block the regulation it is expected to go in to effect after that. I guess that's how long these things take, but the original ban was a shining example of US sex and homo phobia, as well as government that is lead by fear and bigotry rather than courage and common sense.

And as long as I'm on my soap box, the situation with the New York State Senate and their flat out refusal to craft a solution to their whose dick is smaller contest and get back to work is infuriating and embarrassing. This goes beyond partisan politics and power plays to a childishness and a complete disregard for the needs of the constituents of New York State that these people should be ashamed of themselves. The fact that they clearly are not in the least bit chagrined by their own behavior has made me resolve to vote against every single one of them in the next elections. I don't care if their opponents are Klansmen Nazi bastard offspring of the late Jerry Fallwell, I will do whatever I can and contribute whatever time and money I am able to have these jackasses thrown out of office. Maybe if a few thousand people agreed with me and sent some emails to that effect we would get some results. As far as I'm concerend it will be too little too late.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Working Holiday

I spent the afternoon of the 4th of July sitting on a pier on the Hudson River. I was working on a tour boat tending bar for people that wanted to watch the fireworks from the water. What I've been doing for a living isn't terribly interesting, nor is it especially profitable, but I'm managing and I'll fill you in one day soon. At any rate, they were filling up boats and manning them with bartenders, and mine was the 8th and last boat to go out. I sat on my ass, and got paid a substandard wage, for almost 4 1/2 hours before my number was up.

We then took on about 150 passengers and headed out to the middle of the river. Where we joined literally hundreds of other boats, sailboats, yachts and about 15 or 20 police boats patrolling the river. I served surprisingly reasonably priced drinks for a few hours before the fireworks began, after which we waited our turn to return to the dock. The whole thing was over by about 11:00.

I made a little money, got to see the Macy's fireworks from a new perspective, and ended up getting a fairly nice tan on my face and arms from sitting on the waterfront chatting with the tourists that were sooooo excited to be spending the 4th of July in NYC.

I've had worse days.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Goodbye Bill

Ever since I moved in to my Castle High Atop Second Avenue (20 years ago!) there has been a tenant on the first floor named Bill. Bill was the victim of a traffic accident up in Harlem just before I moved in to the building. He was struck by a mail truck and suffered permanent brain damage. By that I mean that he was in a coma and on life support and then spent many many months in recovery and rehab. He emerged with his faculties recovered but had quite a bit of physical challenges. Bill had to use a walker to get around, and he had limited use of his arms.

20 years ago, you would frequently pass Bill on the first floor as he was slowly but deliberately (without the walker) making his way towards the front door. Once he got the heavy door opened he would hang a plastic bag on the doorknob. Then he would retrieve his mail from the box and place it in the bag. Because of his limited motor skills, this was how Bill would get his mail and carry it back to his apartment. As the years passed, he would make the same trip with his walker, which he would leave inside the door while he went out to pick up his mail. Bill would sometimes remind you to take care if you were leaving the building while he was in process, as sometimes people would carelessly sweep out of the building and get his bag caught on the other side of the door. These people are what's known as assholes, and I would always take great care to make sure I didn't inconvenience Bill any further. After I got my rambunctious dogs, I would frequently circle the block to give Bill time to do whatever he was doing and get back to his apartment, rather than chance having a dog jump up and knock him off balance.

I was informed yesterday that Bill had died unexpectedly. He was in the bathroom taking a shower, and when it went on uncharacteristically long his home aide checked on him and found him dead. That explains the night several weeks ago when I took Riley for his late walk, and found several police officers in the building and an ambulance parked outside. At the time I thought Bill had fallen or needed to get to the emergency room.

As Bill's friend and longtime neighbor informed me of his passing yesterday, we stood for a time discussing his life, the building, the landlord, how the place can sometimes be a shit-hole, and losing friends and family unexpectedly. And like every New Yorker who has lived in this city long enough, a city where you have to recognize opportunity and jump on it fast lest you lose out to someone faster, I couldn't help but let my mind wander a bit and consider:

I wonder what that street-level apartment is going to rent for?