Phicklephilly – Do It Yourself

“What’s with all the ads on my favorite blog?”

It’s been an interesting time during quarantine due to the Covid-19 crisis. I’ve had the pleasure of finally taking a rest from working 55 hours a week on my feet in a business that’s incredibly challenging. My daughter and I worked in the same industry, and we both agree that we needed a break. I think the workforce as a whole needed a break.

The first week or so it was just strange. Then we sort of settled into the fact that we couldn’t go to our jobs anymore.

What would we do with this sudden, paid free time?

We’ve had some ideas.  I decided to make phicklephilly.wordpress.com into my own domain. I bought Phicklephilly.com four years ago and own it. So I called the nice folks over at GoDaddy and had that integrated into my site. Now it’s more searchable on Google and has brought so much more traffic to the site. If you google phicklephilly now, it’s the first thing that comes up. That, and my books.

With that came wordpress ads. They run ads on your site, and that generates revenue. You have to complete a bunch of forms for that and give them all of your tax info. Because it’s real income.

But here’s the thing… the revenue for the ads run is minimal. They’ll serve thousands of ads on your site. But the return is tiny. Phicklephilly has been around for over four years and I have a tons of content. (Over 2,000 posts) I’ve always been prolific. I figured, more content, more page views. It worked, but I’d probably need millions of page views to make any money from these free ads thrown to me by wordpress.

I’m not complaining, but I felt I needed to do more. So I recently signed up for Google Analytics. That opens up the world of Adsense. Once that’s processed over the next few weeks, that’ll generate ads on my site which will equal more revenue. I’m looking forward to that. The site is really coming into it’s own. We’ve hit 50,000 page views so far this year, with 84,000 visitors, 2200 subscribers, and over 147,000 page views since its inception. So, we’re growing.

But while writing Angel with a Broken Wing, there was something nagging at me. The itch I had to create was being satiated by writing the book, but I felt there was something more I could do for Phicklephilly. The little blog that started me on this journey shortly after the death of my father in 2016.

I started to think… I’m putting all of these pieces together, is there something else I could do?

While creating Angel with a Broken Wing I would listen to music on Youtube. I’ve been listening to everything! It’s been great, but sometimes between songs they run these commercials. I don’t really mind it if it doesn’t go on to long. I grew up in a world where radio and TV were supported by commercials.

I worked in advertising for 10 years when I returned to Philadelphia from New York back in 2007.

I remember as I was typing one day, this ad came on for a company called, Dr. Squatch. I stopped what I was doing to watch it. Normally, when people are enjoying  a show or listening to music, all they want to do is skip the ads. But Dr. Squatch’s ads were so good, I was captivated by their brand. It was a brilliant, fun campaign to promote their male hygiene products. You know an ad is good when you WANT to watch it because it’s so engaging.

It got me thinking… all I did for 10 years in Philly was sell advertising. Digital advertising. For Philly.com, a happy hour website, and Philly Weekly. I started with nothing at all three of those companies and made it work. Most people don’t like to sell, or can’t sell. Either you have it or you don’t. No one likes rejection, and that’s 95% of sales. You need mad game to sell. It’s a ruthless, thankless business. But perfect for me. An over achiever with low self esteem, and a track record of closing impossible deals. In banking as a broker I was a million dollar producer every year. At Philly.com I was billing $40k a month. It all comes down to who will relentlessly make calls on clients, meet with them, close them, cross sell them, and get referrals. Then repeat that over and over again. That’s sales. Just run down the game and kill it everyday. Like a lion on the savanna, you hunt every day to feed your cubs. Most days you go hungry. But you keep at it. Most don’t have the will to keep at it. But if you do, like anything else, eventually you’ll make a kill.

So, here I am creating content for my dating and relationship blog here in Philly during quarantine. How can I write a blog like this in quarantine? I feel like I’ve been grounded by my parents and I can’t go out and do what I do socially.

But, while I’m waiting for WordPress and google analytics and adsense to all come together for me, I should maybe try to do what I’m good at.

Sell digital advertising while I’m waiting for them to get their act together. It’s what I’m good at. Selling stuff. Any job I’ve ever worked where I don’t get to create or sell stuff I usually fail. Because we have plenty of people that are built to take orders and work hard to build somebody else’s dream. Business leaders love cheap labor.

Don’t get me wrong… Phicklephilly, and writing books isn’t my dream. The only dream I ever had died 40 years ago in Los Angeles as a failed rockstar. Now the only dreams I have come to me during slumber and that’s just my brain dumping thoughts, feelings and images to keep me sane.

Phicklephilly has been a glorious hobby. Yea, it’s a hobby. If you don’t have a hobby, you should think about maybe getting one. It’s a lovely release from all of the things you HAVE to do everyday to survive. It’s a sweet little pleasure that you get to create.

It’s kind of cool to watch something that started as a passion or a hobby become something bigger. It’s like a garden. You tend the seeds and the plants and vegetables, with water, care and sunlight. It starts to grow. Because you care about it. You like it. It’s fun. It feels good. It’s not a job to pay the bills. It’s your thing. It belongs to you. 

I don’t know why I never thought about this back in March, but I guess I was busy writing my book. But it started to work on me about two months ago. Back in May I decided that part of my day would be dedicated to going through all of my leads and contacts. I have hundreds from New Jersey, New York, and obviously Philly.

I would spend only one hour a day for 60 days going through all of my social contacts, (business ones, not you drunken assholes) business contacts, business cards, Linkedin, old sales files from the last 20 years, and see what that would yield. I called on every advertising agency in my old book of business. I knew if I dug into all of my New York contacts, I could mine some gold. Sometimes the one hour goal would stretch beyond that, but I wanted to do it everyday consistently. I didn’t talk about it to anyone, in case it never came to fruition.

Which brings me to this.

The sight obviously looks different. Especially the sidebar. I wanted to fit them all in where I could.

At least for now.

What’s weird is… I remember being contacted years ago by acquaintances that had attached themselves to me like sea lampreys in the industry. They had their websites about Philly, or food, or music. They always wanted me to sell ads for them on their sites. I have no idea what their business plan was for their sites, but I can guess. Write a blog with some relevant content about something they were passionate about. But somewhere they thought they’d like to run ads on their site and make money. Sadly, they didn’t possess the ability to execute that part. So they approach some schlub to do it for them. They have no revenue to pay said individual. Sadly, all of those sites have failed, and hopefully those folks found jobs somewhere. I get it. Great idea. Poorly executed.

But don’t be nice to me thinking I’m going to do your job for you. That’s just fiction, man.

Most writers can write, But there aren’t really any writers out there that can sell.

So, I’ve been digging in hard everyday for the last few months to maybe monetize Phicklephilly. There’s no way I’d do this for free for someone else’s little dream, but for my little hobby…sure.

I haven’t sold advertising since 2017. But I still have all of my contacts from my corporate life. I haven’t had a platform worth selling anything on. But the cool thing is, Phicklephilly just sort of grew like a weed over the last 4 years. It grew because I gave it a lot of love. (Along with all of you reading this!)

So here we are.

Funny what you can accomplish when you don’t have a job to go to.

I know for the moment the site is looking a bit cluttered, but I wanted to show everybody that decided to run on my site. I’ll clean it up, and WordPress and Google will help me out.

I’m blown away by the support that all of these brands have brought to Phicklephilly. 

I want to take a moment and thank everybody!

ALYAKA, AQUATALIA, BERETTA, BERRYLOOK, HARD TAIL, TRETORN, BUXTON, EVERLAST (You guy have been great! I appreciate all of the rapid responses!) FREDRICKS OF HOLLYWOOD (I have a story for you guys from my youth when I first saw your ads in a Hollywood gossip mag!) GRAND SLAM – NEW YORK, JACH’S – NEW YORK, KATY PERRY (Katy… your agency is a delight to work with!) LANCER, LIFELINE, LUVYLE   (I love you guys! Thanks for Berrylook!), MADDA FELLA, MADISON STYLE, PURLISSE, ROYAL DOULTON (Thank you guys in London for being first!), SLEEPSTAR, SMOKO (Beautiful ads, guys!), WATERFORD, WEDGWOOD, YOUNGBLOOD MINERAL COSMETICS (Best models ever!)

You guys rock! You’ve all been so kind and patient with me. I can write, but I suck at all of the technical stuff. I just love that I was able to pitch you guys and you got it. I can’t run all of your stuff all of the time, but I’ll do my best to promote your brands on the site to the best of my abilities!

Thank you!

(If any of you readers have any opinions about the way the site looks, please let me know!)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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Tales of Rock – David Bowie Thinks Witches Are Stealing His Semen

In fall 1975, David Bowie went into the studio in Los Angeles and made Station To Station, one of the best albums of his career. It saw him transition from playing conventional if fantastic rock and roll to recording a series of genre-bending masterpieces that set a template for ’80s pop and whose influence is still being felt decades later. Pretty impressive, considering he was doing so much coke at the time he later couldn’t remember recording the album at all.

According to David Buckley, the author of the book “Strange Fascination: David Bowie: The Definitive Story,” Bowie’s diet at the time consisted of cocaine, peppers and milk, and he lived in “a state of psychic terror.” Interviews published in Playboy and Rolling Stone depicted Bowie surrounding himself with burning black candles and Egyptian artifacts and believing that bodies were floating past his window, witches were stealing his semen and that the Rolling Stones were sending him secret messages. He lived in fear of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, owing to his supposed practice of witchcraft. In Station To Station‘s title track, Bowie yelped, “It’s not the side effects of the cocaine; I’m thinking that it must be love,” which was definitely the wrong diagnosis.

If Bowie wanted to clean up after this album, he made the wrong move by decamping to Berlin with Iggy Pop. Still, the trio of albums he recorded during this period—Low, Heroes and Lodger—honed his legacy. This trilogy along with Station To Station was cherry-picked to create a perfect soundtrack for Christiane F. We Children from Bahnhof Zoo, a German film released in 1981 that captured the harrowing lives of teenage junkies in West Berlin.

Check it out. I saw it at a midnight showing in LA in 1982. It’s great!

 

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Annabelle – Chapter 3 -First Date

What if I’m not falling for her at all? What if I’m simply in love with the idea of love, and not this woman?

It was a hot day in July of 2013. I remember that summer being especially humid. I didn’t want to get all sweaty before my date with Annabelle. So I took a taxi up to the Barnes Museum. But sadly, many of those cabs are still hot as hell in the summertime. I went inside, told them I was on the guest list and that I was waiting for my plus one.  The girl at the counter tells me it’s cooler downstairs. I head down to cool off and dry out. I was heavier back then, (36 waist!) so maybe that’s why I was sweating more. I get some water and have a seat.

I get a text from Annabelle that she has arrived. I tell her to just let them know who she is and they’ll let her in. She comes downstairs to get me. She is wearing her hair up, and has a black top and matching black slacks that just cover her knees. Is that called Capri pants? She is also wearing heels so she towers over me. I don’t care. I’m Phicklephilly. I cast a great shadow across this city. She goes to use the restroom, and I chill out looking at little models of what the building looked like when they were designing it. The are all in different stages under glass.  I’m looking at one of the tiny models very closely when she returns. She comes up behind me and I just feel her presence. I turn around and she is over me looking at what I’m looking at. I tell her it felt like I was being stalked by a raptor from Jurassic Park. She laughs and does this little impression of a raptor. I find this funny and ask her if she liked the film  Jurassic Park. (One of my favorite movies)

“I love Jurassic Park.”

“Okay….okay” I reply.

We go upstairs and into the main ballroom. They are having a little first Friday celebration. A live band plays some sweet jazz. For whatever reason we’re both starving. I get us high top with a pair of chairs, and tell her I’ll go fetch us some snacks and wine.

I head over to the bar and all they have is overpriced everything and some cheese and chips. It’s the Barnes for God’s sake. Can’t they afford any decent chow for the guests? I gather up two bags of chips some cheese and a couple of glasses of wine. I’m not even gone for five minutes, and some old codger has already swooped in and started talking to my date. This guy is easily twenty years older than me. I approach, drop the food on the table and hand Annabelle her wine.

“Really dude? I was gone all of five minutes. Get your own girl.” I joke.

We chat with the old guy. He seems charming and harmless. After a bit, Annabelle and I go over to tour the collection. Apparently, that wasn’t part of the passes I was given. I simply drop a name and they let us in. I had never seen the collection before so it was a real treat for me to see what a billion dollar art collection looked like.

The collection includes 181 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 69 by Paul Cézanne, 59 by Henri Matisse, 46 by Pablo Picasso, 21 by Chaim Soutine, 18 by Henri Rousseau, 16 by Amedeo Modigliani, 11 by Edgar Degas, seven by Vincent van Gogh, and six by Georges Seurat. Other European and American masters in the collection include Giorgio de Chirico, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, Paul Gauguin, El Greco, Francisco Goya, Édouard Manet, Jean Hugo, Claude Monet, Maurice Utrillo, William Glackens, Charles Demuth, Jules Pascin and Maurice Prendergast. It also holds a variety of African artworks; ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art; and American and European furniture, decorative arts and metalwork. The museum also holds several significant works by cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz.

It was pretty amazing how one guy was able to collect this many fantastic, priceless pieces of art. We walk from room to room, looking at everything. At one point she says, “Out of everything in this room, which is your favorite?”  Then I would choose the one I liked the best. I would do the same to her. We did this enough times, until finally she asked me what was my favorite in the last room.

I simply pointed to her.

She smiled.

We then went downstairs to the rum tasting. We were all in a room and they gave us three different rums to try. The guy that was running the tasting really knew a lot about each rum and what made them different. But the weird part was, they were comparing the taste and look of the rum to different paintings in the collection. They had the images on a video screen on the wall. I’ve never seen this done, and I don’t even think it’s a real thing. But free rum is free rum. I remember the person talking about the mood of the paintings and the taste of the rum, and I was into it. there was a moment when my eyes drifted away from the host and onto Annabelle. I was looking at the painting and then my gaze passed over to Annabelle. I looked at her profile and neck. Was I falling for this girl? I took girls to events all of the time. What was it about this one? There’s nothing special about her really. It’s been two years since Michelle. I’m really taken with her. Has it just been too long since I’ve fallen in love that I just want that feeling again?

What if I’m not falling for her at all? What if I’m simply in love with the idea of love, and not this woman?

After the weird art/rum tasting we headed back upstairs. We probably shouldn’t have had all that wine and rum with so little food. I can handle it but it could be a bit painful for Annabelle tomorrow.

We leave the museum. It’s located in an area where it would be difficult to catch a taxi. I decide we should walk up to Spring Garden. We reach the corner and flag one down. We share the perfunctory hug. Dating’s funny. So much of it is tied to timing and ritual. I put her in the cab and ask her to text me that she has gotten home safely.

The cab rolls east into the night and as I walk back down into center city. As the city rises before me, I feel a little spring in my step.

 

 

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Sun Stories – Achilles Heel

Has Sharon finally found Achilles heel?

Achilles has had his share of challenges with his girlfriend Sharon off and on for the last ten years. There were times he wanted to just pack it in and end it. But Sharon has stood the test of time. Achilles’ only weakness.

He finished his shift at the salon, and rode his motorcycle home, just like any other Friday afternoon.

He went home and set the table in the dining room. Then he started cooking up a really nice dinner. He made the salad, grilled the veggies, cooked the steaks to perfection. He’s Greek. They can do everything.

The table was set. Candles glowed in the dimly lit room. Romantic music played softly in the background. Sharon would be home any minute. Achilles gently laid a bouquet of flowers at her place on the table.

She came through the door, to see him standing next to the table smiling. She paused, and then saw the flowers at her place.

“What did you do?” she said accusingly, as if he had done all of this because he done something bad.

Sharon approached the table. Achilles continued to smile. Beyond the flowers was a small black velvet box.

She gasped.

“Open it…” he said calmly.

With trembling hands, Sharon picked up the tiny vessel. Glancing up at him as she slowly opened the box, revealing a beautiful diamond engagement ring.

He proposed.

She said yes.

And they lived happily ever after. (Fingers crossed!)

Yea… Achilles is getting married!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Marigold – Good German Stock

I’ve known her since she was 21 and now she’s a mom!

I met Marigold when she was only 21 years old. That was back in 97 when she worked for me as a teller in my bank branch at 10th and Snyder Aves. in South Philly. They would sometimes send her to another branch to help out, so I didn’t see her all of the time. She always seemed smarter and sharper than her peers. I really liked her. (Tall blonde. Good legs.)

We would sometimes go to lunch and it was always nice to spend time with her outside of the bank. Marigold eventually left retail banking for a better job. I remember she always dated high-end wealthy or affluent men. She wasn’t a gold digger or anything like that, just knew how to date a better class of men than most girls her age.

We kept in touch and would occasionally meet up for lunch or drinks to catch up. At one point I was living in New Jersey and she was living in the Fairmount area for Philly. I was married back then. Years later I was working in Philadelphia, and she had moved to New York. So that kept us apart except for the random visit. I later moved to New York for work and she was then living in Newark, NJ with her boyfriend of several years. That was just a few train stops beyond where I was living at the time. So we got to hang out every once in a while.

I remember attending her bachelorette party. I was the only guy invited. Just me surrounded by a bunch of women. It was awesome! She and her fiance married at city hall but then had a big reception down in the Bowery of NYC. I took my then girlfriend Jackie, who was a second generation girl from Haiti. She was a lawyer on Wall Street. She wanted to get married and have children so badly, I think she scared me off. Lorelei was enough kid for one lifetime for me.

I eventually moved back to Philly and took a job at a local digital publication. I didn’t see Marigold as much as I would have liked to, but we always managed to get together at least once or twice a year. Then she moved out to Lexington, Kentucky. Her husband is a professor at the University of Kentucky, so out they went. he’s a great guy. Everybody loves Don.  Men and women alike. He’s so cool that he’s never minded me hanging out with his wife. Cassandra works as a financial broker, so technically she can work anywhere. I have known Marigold twenty years now, and I’m sure hasn’t been a fan of living out in the midwest. She’s a city cat like me and probably misses living in a metropolis. I would bet that at some point they’ll come back.

She has a little son who is now six years old and two daughters that are about two and a half. They are fraternal twins. They all have white blonde hair and look like the perfect little Aryan family. They’re all really cute. I think the son could have used a bit more discipline to keep his behavior in check, but he’s not my child. I know for a while about a year ago, cassandra was losing her shit having three little kids to take care of everyday. That was real challenge for her. I think it aged her.

I was down at our shore house a few years ago to see my father and she visited with her son. She wanted to meet my father that I always spoke of fondly to her. She wanted to see his train collection and also wanted her son to see it. It’s pretty spectacular. I’m glad she finally got to meet my dad. Her life with her father had always been a challenge. I believe he was bi polar and struggled with alcohol. I remember even in her twenties she was taking care of him. Writing out his checks to pay his bills, etc. that must have been a lot for a young girl to bear. I may have fucked up some things in my life, but I was always capable of taking care of my daughter. Girls need strong dads. I may not be the strongest father, but I was consistent with Lorelei. I also wasn’t a crazy asshole like her mother, so that’s part of the reason Lor has decided to live with me.

I am writing this because I am about to go see her and her daughter tonight. She’s visiting Philly for a couple of days to see everybody, and this must be my night.  I will finish this piece upon my return.

I got to their hotel at 5pm. They are staying at the Courtyard at Marriott. It’s a nice hotel right near City Hall. Originally that building was built in 1926 as a government annex to City Hall for over 60 years. In 1990 it was acquired and renovated by Marriott. The marble floors and three chandeliers in the main lobby are all original. It is the largest Courtyard Marriott in the world.

Just thought I’d give you a little Philly history there.

I go up to her room, and her little daughter is on the carpet playing with her maryjane shoes. She’s so cute and social. I know it’s been a stressful drive up from DC today for Marigold. They were down there visiting with Don’s family for the holidays. Marigold is happy that she only has the one child to look after for the next couple of days. She is relieved that her husband and his family will get to spend time with her son and other daughter. Three little kids are a handful, but getting a break and only having to look after one is much needed on her part.

I hand Marigold a skinny joint. She’s delighted. She hardly ever smokes weed so she says she only needs a tiny bit to get lit. She excuses herself and heads to the bathroom to toke up. I’m just chilling on the couch sipping a glass of wine. I tell her to run the fan in the bathroom to draw out the smoke. I hear the fan go on followed by coughing.

Moments later, Marigold reappears, smiling. “Thanks, I needed that. Do my eyes look stoned?”

I assure her she looks fine. We get her little one in the stroller and head downstairs in the elevator. I’ve decided to take them to Zavino at 13th and Sansom. It’s a small place but we’re in a nice little booth in the back. I had called ahead to hold a table and they were very accommodating. They take the stroller and hang it in the back.

We settle into our seats and order some wine. I know they all love pizza and that’s why I brought them here. It’s really good brick oven pie here. They have this location and a bigger one out in University City. Their happy hour is pretty solid. We got two pies (they’re small) eight bucks a piece and the wine was only five bucks a glass. For a nice place like this in midtown village, that’s a good deal.

We had a nice dinner without incident. Her daughter was well-behaved. The food was great and the service on point. I was happy to see Marigold and share this moment of repose with her. When we finished, she insisted on paying the bill. I left the tip. I walked her back to the hotel and we called it a night. It was a great two hours to catch up with my old friend. She said she couldn’t wait to snuggle up with her little one, smoke a little more grass and fall into the arms of Morpheus.

I love Marigold like a sister.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Joyce – 2016 – Delaware Despair

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

Still another grinding Tinder date. Gotta keep trying. I swiped right on Joyce, and she did as well. She is 51, with blonde hair and brown eyes. Not a bad-looking lady. She lives in Delaware as you may have guessed. She had only three photos on her profile. Head shots only and no description. In two of the photos she is doing a three-quarter face and looking at the camera with a sideward glance. The third photo is black and white and she is wearing dark sunglasses and looking away from the camera.

Being in sales most of my life, I am pretty good at reading facial expressions and body language. Normally, they say more than any words can express. A sideward glance shows mistrust. A woman who doesn’t do a body pic on her profile, may have some body issues. If you don’t write anything about yourself on your profile, you are either super hot and don’t have to, or you don’t have anything to say.

Let’s see how this plays out.

We chat on Tinder first. She liked what I wrote in my profile about if you don’t look like your pics you have to buy me drinks until you do. So that was good. She said she had only been on Tinder for two weeks. After two weeks she had low expectations. She said that if she actually got to the meeting stage, that would be a score. If there was something more after that, it would be an even bigger score. What she wasn’t looking for was, hookups, or weeks of endless texting with no meet up on the agenda. So that’s another positive in her favor.

I asked her is she ever came to Philly, and she says she comes all the time. I like that. But then she said Baltimore was the “New Philly.”

Strike one.

I tell her I work in business development, and am going to be opening a business in 2017 in personal fitness and tanning. I ask her what she does for a living. She says she has been a dental hygienist her whole life, but no longer practices. (Sounds grindingly horrible) It has taken a toll on her neck and back. But she has had the good fortune to manage the office. She likes problem solving and it keeps her very busy. For fun she loves to travel. Loves the beach, too. (That always worries me. Usually they are boring types that just blow their money on trips to keep their lives interesting because they themselves are not.) She also says she needs to go dancing weekly. (Again. No talking, just moving around. Troubling. No man wants to go dancing ever.) She also likes to take risks. When friends want to do something that no one else will do they call her knowing she’ll be down for it. (They call their good friends first, and settle on you because they know you’re always available because you have no life.)  I’m going to go ahead and call this:

Strike Two.

After some schedule wrangling, we exchange numbers and decide to meet up. It was a Sunday after I was finished at the salon. I liked that she drove all the way up from Delaware to meet me. I’ll give her points for that. Oh, I told her about my writing and she wanted to read it, so I sent it to her. She did read it, and liked it. More points. (It was a screenplay I wrote a century ago.)

We meet at Square 1682. It’s sort of my go to spot in Rittenhouse. I’ve had some great experiences there and dig the staff for the most part. She gets there on time. Points. We sit at the end of the bar. She is reluctant to drink. I respect that. She has to drive. But one drink? We’re going to be here for longer than an hour. But no worries.

I am talking to her and being my usual effervescent self. I’ve run this program countless times and most women find me very engaging. Most people are boring and I bring a rich history of humor and knowledge to the table. But as the time goes by I realize I’m doing all of the talking. She actually asks me if I have ADD. I guess someone with a personality and energy is alien to her. I give her plenty of opportunities to talk but that’s when the conversation falls flat. It literally goes awkwardly quiet. That never happens with me. She’s doing that sideward glance judgemental look to me. Then she wants food. Shit. She’s boring and now I gotta feed this one.

I spring for some calamari for her and I get the octopus. She asks me what my day job is. I don’t like this. I’m the VP of business development for an institute. I told her all of this. I can see why she’s alone. She’s a drag and brings nothing to the table. I am really good at striking up conversations with complete strangers. I can talk to literally anyone. But, I don’t remember much about our date or about her, because she had so little in the way of conversational skills. I don’t even remember is she’s even been married or has any kids. Normally I write notes in my phone after these date so I can write about them, but I just looked, and I have nothing!

Strike Three! You’re out Joyce.

Here’s an interesting tidbit though. Near the end of our date, I look past her and who do I see sitting one seat down from Joyce?

June! (June – 10/2016 – Runs With Scissors)

My first date with June was on a Sunday at Square 1682 two and a half months ago! She’s alone chatting with the bartender, my buddy Tusk. She says hello to me, and wave back. I almost called her by her blog name. It was awkward. She doesn’t hang out at this bar. She’s lonely and is hoping to run into me, or just to talk to hot Tusk. (He is hot, in a rock and roll way. I’ll write about him soon) Now when I get rid of Joyce, I can’t even come back here and review this mess with Tusk. Tusk later texted me, and said that June said that she was cuter than the girl I was with. Okay, for the record, June. 1. You’re not. 2. You both equally suck in different ways.

I sadly have to pay the bill. (She did drive up from Delaware) I walk her to the parking garage, and it ends in not even a kiss on the cheek, (not that I even give a shit at this point) but with the perfunctory hug. Ugh! I ask her to please text me when she safety gets home.

I just make the walk home, because there is nothing left to do.

She texts me later to say that she arrived home safely. She thanks me for “an evening of drinks, snacks, and witty repartee.” (Those are the exact words I wrote in my calendar invite to her about this date) Has she not a single original thought in her head?

I’m never contacting her again. I have better things to do. I should have entitled this chapter, “Delaware Dud.”

Lately this senario has become classic phicklephilly. *sigh*

 

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Spinner – 2001 to Present – The Broad Street Bullies

The funniest guy I know…

Before I start this one, I’m very proud to announce that I have reached  500 followers! That’s 500 more than when I started this journey 6 months ago. I want to thank each and every one of you for reading phicklephilly. Your comments and likes have been wonderful, and I try to respond  to all of you. I have so many more stories to tell and I hope that this blog evolves into what it ultimately should be. I’m documenting my past loves and my quest to find true and sustainable love here in Philadelphia.

But hopefully I begin to examine who I am and how I got here, and what made me into who I am today.

I’m glad you’re all on the journey with me, and it pushes me forward to continue and never give up!

Thank you one and all!

 

I have known Spinner for over fifteen years. He is the funniest guy I know. He has a brain that somehow can put together words, phrases and ideas faster than anyone I know.

He used to work for me back in 2002. He was hired as a bank teller at a branch I managed in Mt. Laurel, NJ. I started to notice how funny he was after a while. He and I developed a good rapport. One day Spinner just stopped coming to work. So our head teller fired him. I think he just hated working for the head teller who was an angry asshole. I liked Spinner, so I kept in touch with him.

We actually started hanging out. We’d go out to eat at the mall and girl watch together. He was really cool to hang out with because he had such a quick wit. He has the ability to freestyle comic bits at lightening speed.

I remember he came over to my house one time. He had a flyer that had information about an upcoming comedy show at Stockton State College. As I read it I saw that he was headlining and that it was a fundraiser for spina bifida. Then I saw that my name was on it as one of the comedians on the bill. I laughed and asked him what that was about. He simply told me that I was one of the funniest people he knew and that I would kill. I thanked him and told him there was a distinct difference between me and the other comics. I didn’t have an act!

Although I was terrified, I was still intrigued. I wrote some material and went out and did it. The thing with fear is, unfortunately you have to run toward it to overcome it, not away from it. That simple piece of advice given to me by an old friend, helped me overcome much of my lifelong anxiety disorder. Stand up is terrifying. Playing in a band is scary until you get through the first song and start rocking, then it’s awesome. But standing alone on a quiet stage with a spotlight in your face, and making people laugh is really hard.

So I did it. It was nerve-wracking, but also fun. The peals of laughter coming back from the audience from what you’re saying is similar to the cheers and applause you get playing rock. It’s just a little different high. I did well and somebody even shot a video. Spinner ended up transferring it to a VHS tape and gave me a copy. He said I was the best of all of the comics. I was so happy. But try to find something to play that tape on now!

I have since gone on to perform stand up in New York, and here at the Laff House in Philly. It’s all thanks to my buddy Spinner.

Sometimes we would go to the Tropicana in Atlantic City, and he would gamble. He likes roulette. I’m not a gambler, so I would just blow through twenty dollars and then drink and talk to women. Sometimes he would win a lot of money, but obviously, that doesn’t happen all of the time.

I moved to New York and didn’t see him as much anymore. But we always kept in touch. If I was around on a weekend to see my daughter, sometimes he’d hang out too.

But in the last year or two Spinner and I have reconnected and have been attending sporting events. I’m not a sports fan, but it’s really fun to go out with someone who is, and understands the game. Plus, as an added bonus the guy is a fucking riot.

Spinner is a huge baseball fan. He loves the Boston Red Sox. We’ve seen the Sox, the Phillies, and most recently a Flyers game. I have realized hanging out with Spinner why men love sports so much. It’s the competitive nature of the game. I love the exchange of power. If your team comes out and they trounce the other guys, it’s no fun to watch. But if we’re up and they take away our lead, it’s on! We have to fight to get it back to win. It’s very exciting to me.

I was never into hockey at all. It looked violent and moved too fast. Now, I love it. The talent of these athletes! Chasing and controlling that little puck all the while on ice skates! It’s such an intense and fast paced sport. Really good. I loved seeing that game and really want to see more. (The Flyers won after a sudden death tie. It was glorious!)

So hopefully this interesting and enduring friendship continues. I want to see more live sporting events! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been better at maintaining relationships, but in this case Spinner, he has been the one that has kept us connected over the last few years and for that I am very grateful.

 

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Phicklephilly – Business Development

My friend Keila (Keila – 2012 to Present – The Gaza Stripper) Who works with Alice at their IT recruiting firm knows so many people in the city. Her mom is friends with another Israeli woman who owns an Alcohol Education Institute here in the city. I know how that sounds. But it’s not what you think. The woman who owns it formerly owned over six bartending schools in the tri state area. After many successful years, she sold them all and now only has the one institute here in Philly.

Funny thing is, back in 2005 when I was working as a consultant for the financial industry, there were times when we weren’t working on a project. I decided to take a bartending course at a school in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I had no idea at the time, but it was one of theirs!

They are the first center dedicated to training and empowering both sides of the bar: The bartender and the guest. The institute prides itself on teaching people the ” Joy of Alcohol”, and on working with the most creative and inspiring people in the bar industry.

From Flair Maestros to Sommeliers and Brewing Masters, their instructors are some of the most specialized mixologists in the Philadelphia area. Many of the instructors are members of the United States Bartending Guild (USBG) and compete nationwide in bartending competitions.

The institute teaches that alcohol is good.  They celebrate the rich history and virtues of spirits and educate bartenders and consumers alike to respect the trade, perfect the craft, and drink with joy.

They run a standard alcohol education program/bartending school, but they teach so much more than just the basics. When the students graduate from this school, they are probably better than most of the bartenders working in this city right now. They’ll even help them find a job!

They find jobs in multiple ways. One of the primary ways they find jobs is through their “Hire A Bartender” page on their website. They have also built connections with neighboring bars and managers in the industry who are interested in their students.  The third major way they gain jobs is by aggregating relevant job postings from different online sites. Afterwards, they get in contact with the manager to find out exactly what they are looking for and post a more detailed explanation on their Alumni page. The fourth way they do this is by requesting a dream list from each of their graduates.

From that dream list, they call every single place and give the requesting graduate the information for the jobs that are hiring.

Sweet, right? It’s the real deal, and I have known the family for about three years. They are all really nice and recently approached me to come work for them. It’s an exciting position. I am the VP of Business Development. My job is to procure liquor companies to sponsor their products and services in the institute. I am also in the process of pitching a “Bar Leadership Program” to casinos, hotels, and larger restaurant chains, to train their people to understand the bar business beyond the bar. How to manage a bar, manage a staff, create a menu, what beer and wine you’ll need to stock your bar, etc. It’s the next level course that can make bartenders into managers.

So this could be a great fun gig for me. I’m looking forward to getting back out there to promote this great institute.

 

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Johnny R – 2009 to Present – Dive Bar Blues

Johnny came into town recently. I hadn’t heard from him the entire day, and was concerned he would bail. I had just come off an exhausting evening with a lady, and was pretty tired. I had to work at the salon all day and then go meet with him. I wasn’t burned out because I hadn’t drank or smoked anything the night before. She simply wore me out. “Junior achiever, had the old bull by the horns.”(As Steven Tyler would say)

I kind of was hoping he’d bail, but thought it better to text him. It was the end of my shift and he told me he had just arrived at Mcglinchey’s. Being Sunday afternoon, I knew even if we hung out neither of us would last long.

I lock up the salon and headed over. When I get there some seats had opened up at the end of the bar and I beckon him down. I love this place. The staff is surly, the jukebox is good, and the drinks are cheap and you can smoke in this bar.

Perfect.

Johnny’s not happy. So what else is new? He’s always a little disgruntled about something. Currently, he’s pissed that the bartender is hanging all the way at the other end of the bar chatting with her boyfriend.

The bar has somewhat emptied out. There are just small clusters of drinkers at the bar. The jukebox is blasting country music. Which just adds to Johnny’s rage. I don’t care for country music either, but that shit was relentless. He blames the guy that he assumes is the bartender’s boyfriend. She’s not our usual girl, but I can tell she knows us. Johnny is making his faces and doing his hand gestures of disbelief about the poor service.

“Dude, It’s McGlinchey’s!” I tell him. But it does seem way off tonight. It’s not busy enough for us not to be getting the attention that Johnny thinks we so richly deserve. The country hits keep coming and it is getting on my nerves too. I should go over to the jukebox and play a block of Lamb of God, but I don’t know if we’re going to be around long enough to hear any of it.

We have a few rounds and catch up. I tell him what’s going on with work, life and this blog. I even show him in my phone his first chapter. He becomes suddenly giddy and loves that I’ve included him in my story. But, he’s still sore about the poor service and shitty music. “I have an idea. I’m going to hit the head. Be right back.” He says.

I’m still feeling a bit worn out from the previous nights nocturnal exploits. But this always happens. I’ll just go to bed early tonight and be as good as new tomorrow.

Johnny returns from the bathroom with a twinkle in his steel-blue eyes, and a spring in his step.

“Well this is a change in attitude. Did you meet a guy in there?”

“Ha ha. I just did a little bump of coke.”

“Oh nice. Maybe you’ll be in a better fucking mood now.”

“You look a little tired. Want some?”

“I’m good, Johnny, but thanks.”

I like Johnny on either adderall or coke. Stimulants help him focus and actually sober him up a bit. He’s Irish and he loves his Bud bottles. If he has a little something extra, it sustains him at the bar longer. However, things aren’t improving at our beloved McGlinchey’s tonight. I’ve had a couple of $2.60 glasses of wine with ice and he’s throwing back the beer and coke, but the vibe is off due to the music and poor service. Normally this is a bar we’re happy to camp out in for hours on end, but it’s just not happening.

I tell him we should leave and go to one of my favorite spots. He’s fed up as well and agrees. We cash out and hit the trail. The better bar is only about four blocks away. He’s complaining about the cold and doesn’t want to be out in it too long. I assure him he won’t die of frostbite. Plus his nose must already be frozen from the blow.

We get there and take a seat at the bar. Totally different vibe. Warm and happy. The bartender comes over to greet us with an open hand. Roman is one of my favorite bartenders in the city. There are better mixologists with more knowledge in the city, but Roman brings personality and creativity to his bar. He’s part of the experience and makes everyone feel welcome.

Johnny is happy when Roman hands him an ice-cold Bud bottle. It’s a nice upscale place, but there is something for everyone. Roman is letting me test out some new cocktails, and Johnny is feeling much better. After a while I no longer feel as tired as I did earlier. Just good energy flowing from all around.

Johnny’s girlfriend calls him. He thought maybe she’d be picking him up but she says that she’s not. He’s usually in two different places with Rachel. Aggravated or frustrated. They’ve been together for over eight years and that seems to be the way they love. Who am I to judge? Johnny talks about writing a blog again. I tell him, I’m not going to bring it up again. He says he has all of the information in his head. He just needs to let it out. It’s easier than ever to release your thoughts onto the page. The trick is to actually do it. Thinking a lot of great and wild thoughts is cool, but actually bringing them forth is quite another, and no easy task.  I think if Johnny would make the time, and could be on the right cocktail of drugs and alcohol, he would write some fucking great shit. But the only way to do that is to sit down and write.

Write everyday if you can.

After a while, we’re both feeling good, but Johnny needs to get home and feed his cats. He says that maybe the coke will put him in the mood to write. I don’t mind if he never writes a word. I just enjoy having him in my life as a friend. I know you were hoping we’d get into some vice this time, but again, we have behaved ourselves.

Maybe we’re both just getting older.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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