Welcome

Welcome to my blog. Here you will find information that is both interesting and useless. You can even see how Steve, my camera, sees the world through my eyes, or get your hands on my latest novel, Jihad Joe at:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/119633

Thanks for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the coffee and cake. Sorry we ran out of donuts.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

mom's old burger king


mom's old burger king
Originally uploaded by Rob Hoey
This Burger King used to be a place called "Burgerama." A lot of places used the "rama" suffix and  there was even a TV show called "Wonderama." This suffix comes from the Greek, like most everything in the civilized world, and it means "view." Mom used to come here a lot when she lived alone on Albemarle Road. She forgot how to cook, (after insisting a year prior that I help her buy a new stove because the clock on her old one broke), and she would order her fish sandwich and "senior drink" and would brag about how the order-takers knew her. Well of course they knew her--they didn't have Alzheimers like she did so they remembered her because she was a fixture in the joint.
But long before it was the joint, it was the Burgerama, and probably the best burger joint in Brooklyn. Charbroiled to perfection with french fries to die for. . . in fact, I suspect a good number of people who frequented the joint and ate the french fries regularly did, in fact, die for them.
They don't make burgers like they used to.
They don't make french fries like the good old days.
But they definitely have improved on the oil spills.

Bangladeshi Dude


Bangladeshi Dude
Originally uploaded by Rob Hoey
I will even miss the street fairs, the myriad cultures and the general diversity of New York. I will not miss the Kensington Aerobics and Fitness rip off center. I will miss the convenience of being able to walk down the block to get a slice of pizza, and the fact that Brooklyn pizza is among the best in the world. I will miss my friends and PS 230--my grammar school that I pass every day as I walk from the subway station to my building.

do not join this gym


do not join this gym
Originally uploaded by Rob Hoey
We finally sold Thasneem's membership but now the lying owner told the kid at the desk that he must charge us the $100 transfer fee that he promised me he would not charge. The really sad part is that this is the only game (gym) in town. There is nothing to compete with this place. How sad that this piece of waste gets away with this.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

paperwork

It's funny how the shoemaker's kids go barefoot. I know that I love to write, but I hate filling out forms. To move to Canada I must fill out an itemized list of everything I own in the world, a form (E667) for all the money or valuables I'm taking with me, and in order to get my permanent residency, I need to remember every place I've lived, the years I've lived there, every school I've gone to, and everything I've eaten since the age of 18.  It's worse than a job interview--it's a life interview. When I look at what I own, it makes me wonder if I am rich or poor. But then I think of the things that cannot be owned, like love and my wife, and I realize how rich I really am. Oh Canada, you really piss me off.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

boxes and boxes

You need to be prepared when it comes to moving from one place to another. You need to be doubly prepared when moving to another country. I prepared for this move by visiting my local supermarket almost daily. Whenever I trudged up from the subway, the market was the first place I went before heading for home. The market has boxes and boxes are needed for moving. Professional boxes can be purchased for an obscene amount of money, but supermarket boxes are free. So I have been collecting chicken wing boxes, egg boxes, Lipton Tea boxes, Idaho Beef boxes, Purdue chicken boxes, and Eggland's Best boxes, to name a few.

Thas and I went to our local Bangladeshi 99 cent store and bought packing tape. It was a dollar a roll and Thas wanted to argue with the owner about the false advertising aspects of the store's name, but I convinced her that the owner's kharma would be retribution enough, so we went home with three rolls of the tape to tape up our boxes and fortify them for the long journey into the wild.

It took us a good ten minutes trying to unwind the first strand of the sticky stuff because it was microscopically thin and difficult to peel away. When Thas finally got it started, it tore in the middle and we had to retry several times, but it eventually unrolled and we began taping the bottom of the boxes to reinforce them.

The first items to get packed were our books. We knew we'd never re-read them--I mean, how many times can you read "The Psychology of Pain" before experiencing the effects yourself? So we did our best to rid ourselves of those books that were not necessary for us to take along to the land of ice and hockey. It was hard, but we did it. We labeled the myriad boxes "Bks" and sealed them up. Those books that we discarded went to the basement, stacked across from the elevator where they would be seen by people coming down to do their laundry, and amazingly, we saw they were gone the next day. Who knew we had so many avid readers, budding psychologists and  wannabe social workers in our building?

We packed most of our dishes, pots and pans next, and then did the same to most of our winter clothes--I suggested we keep a jacket on hand for those frosty summer nights in Ottawa, eh.

Then it hit me. I realized that some of the chicken boxes and meat boxes had little stains in the corners, and it occured to me that this was not a good thing. This was chicken blood and who knows what else. Our clothes and books and pots and pans might take on the trace odors of dead animals--and we'd be taking this to the border of the USA and Canada, and they would stop us and have us slowly get ooot of the vehicle and hand over the keys, whereupon they would inspect every last box for the presence of death and we'd be delayed for hours in some godforsaken border crossing station and they would ask us questions and Thas would admit to being a Muslim, and they would do things to us like have us remove our shoes and question me about my hockey knowledge and allegiences. And all because we got our boxes from the supermarket because we're too cheap to pay for professional boxes.

When is Boxing Day anyway?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Changes

I believe the David Bowie song begins with the stutter: "Chah chah chah changes . . . " and goes on to sing of the changes that occur in one's life. And that's where it's at for Thas and me right now--chah changes. I am not just chah changing addresses, I'm chah changing countries; I'm chah changing from baseball to hockey; chah changing from living amongst litter and schizophrenic commuters to living with people who wear tee shirts without jackets in the winter; chah changing from the Rangers to the Senators, the Yankees to the . . . well, the Yankees. We are beginning to box up our lives and it isn't even Boxing Day--a day that I only recently learned had nothing to do with pugilistic arts. 
I hope my working papers go through quickly so I can again work at not making money in real estate. Maybe it'll be different in Ottawa--maybe people are real and not just playing head games with brokers and when they say they want to rent an apartment, they mean it, and they aren't working with twenty other brokers, wasting the time of nineteen, and sometimes all twenty. Maybe I'll be happy in Canada--I really believe I will be. I will have Thasneem and Shabana and Frankie and Frankie's quirky family who I adore. I will have a more secure sense that the buildings around me will not be toppled by crazy bastards in jet planes who think they act on behalf of a god who thinks that it's okay to kill his or her children. (I still believe there's a good case to make that god is a woman, and if Mohammed and Moses and Jesus were chicks, god would be a chick too--but I digress). 
I love the idea of owning our own place--and owning it with the woman I love, admire and would die for--if she could bottle her smile, there would be world peace and there would be five cent refunds on smiles.