Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Last Supper

I was so fooled on Thursday night when PJ and my friends planned a surprise going away dinner for me. A few days in advance, PJ was telling me we were going to meet his hunky college friend, Todd, for a few drinks at a local restaurant, which made sense since we had see Todd briefly a few days earlier. So on our way to see "Todd," I see Jon, Josh and Randy walking down Columbus Ave with a big bouquet of pink balloons. So, I roll down the window and yell. "Nice balloons boys!!" All three really didn’t pay attention and I figured they didn't recognize me in the rented car we were driving in and PJ also agreed. I was wondering where three of our closest friends could be going with pink balloons. I SHOULD have put two and two together at this point but I had no idea this was part of my surprise dinner. So, I text Josh letting him know that I was the one that yelled out at them with the balloons, no response. I am now thinking that maybe they are mad at me for something? PJ just keeps telling me that Jim Rice has a birthday coming up and that is most likely where they are going. Again, I believe it.

So, now PJ and I are in front of Masa restaurant waiting for Todd to meet us. PJ now tells me that we are going to meet Todd at Maggiano's because he is interested in investing into the restaurant, which I believed because Todd is part owner of Masa. I am bitching and complaining because I really didn't want to sit at Maggiano's at the bar with people I really didn’t know and Masa looked so cozy inside. We make our way to Maggiano's and I see those pink balloons inside Maggiano's!! I was all excited because I wanted to make fun of Josh for carrying the pink balloons and also find out who's party it was for. Still, I am not thinking any of this is for me. PJ and I get into Maggiano's and I see my best friend, Patrick. Now, the first thing that goes through my head is, why is Patrick here? Why didn’t I know about this? and why wasn't I invited!? That thought left in a blink of an eye when I looked at PJ to tell him Patrick was here and I saw the shit ass grin on PJ's face. The party was for me! I felt rather dumb that I was duped! How could I not put two and two together? HA!

A bunch of my favorite people were there: Patrick, Josh, Jon, Kevin, Will, Charlie, Randy, Frank and Andy, to surprise me with a going away dinner. It was one the nicest things anyone has done for me. I was genuinely surprised and a little embarrassed, and I don't get embarrassed! An endless amount of food was served at the large table we all sat at in the middle of the restaurant. I was in the Jesus position at the table with Kevin playing the role of Mary Magdalene. The pink balloons where attached to my chair, flying high in the crowded restaurant, that also included a "good luck" and Barbie balloon, which attracted the curiosity of the entire restaurant. A few people came over to wish me a "Happy Birthday" or ask what the occasion was. All I had to do was tell them I was "moving to San Francisco" and the "Ah-ha" light went on above their heads - Gay!

Leaving the restaurant we all headed to one of the only gay bars in Boston, Club Cafe. The place was packed and more familiar faces were there: Mike Clisham, Jack, Scott, Steve, Mike Keaney, Dan, Davino and many others. It was all great to see them, most for one last time before I departed to SF. I walked into the place with this oversized balloons tied to my ass, which was funny because they kept hitting all the queens in the head. Looking around at the mobbed bar, I smiled thinking that when I do come back to Boston, this place will still be here and the majority of the faces will be the same...well the same, but gravity will have kicked in a bit.:-) Of course, I will have defied gravity when I come back. Wait isn’t that a slogan for Maybelline?

PJ and I didn't stay long at Club Cafe and we headed home. Before heading home, I wanted to let the balloons go. Originally PJ and I were both thinking I should let them go on Washington Street where I first arrived six years ago homeless, but this was about moving on with someone I love. We decided to let them go where we met at 593/595 Tremont Street. We were neighbors when we met and I truly believe fate brought us together. I let the balloons go right in front of the apartment buildings and we watching them float into the sky. It was very fitting watching the balloons scramble around the night sky and slowly disappear. That’s me...scrambling to get everything down before I "disappear" to California. To make this even more fitting Jon Jones, PJ’s roommate at the time I met both of them, came out of the apartment building as well. It was perfect because he was there in the beginning when PJ and I met and it was great that he saw the balloons in the distance as well. A great end to another chapter in this amazing life I have lived so far. Here's to the next chapter....:-)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


This Christmas was one of the best that I can remember in a long time. This is the first Christmas where Zachary is starting to understand Christmas and enjoy the gifts he's receiving from everyone. Paul dressed up as Santa to greet Zach with some gifts and right after "Santa" left, you could hear Zach say, "Was that Daddy?" HA! Too smart for his own good. Zachary and Paul have really lifted my spirits around the holidays, I don't have a large family of my own to celebrate holidays with and having Paul and Zach as my family has made the holidays so enjoyable.


One of the highlights of having a child in your life around Christmas is seeing them enjoy all the gifts they open. Buzz Lightyear from the movie "Toy Story" was a hit with Zach, but the real winner was a gift that seemed destine to be tossed aside and never used. That gift was Rody. Rody is a plastic toy similar to an exercise ball that has a handle and a small child can bounce around on it. Pretty basic and simple, which is why I liked Rody so much. Zach had so much fun on this toy it was so amusing to see his enjoyment in one of the less flashy toys. As you can see below, "someone else" also enjoyed Rody as well.:-)

My going away party was three days before Christmas and the majority of my close friends came over which was very nice since it was right before the holidays. Paul, Patrick and other friends helped create this really great collage of pictures set to music that was displayed on the living room wall. It was very touching to see and I did my best to keep the tears from flowing by telling making fun of the pictures. It was really great to see all those good times over the past few years with the people closest to me. It was better than any Christmas gift I could of asked for. Thank you to all of you for the memories and a great going-away party! Go to the below link to see the party photos! Thanks Patrick:-)

Neil, Paul & Jody

Another great gift earlier this week was a Christmas present from Turner Classic Movies, they featured my book on their website which should generate some sales for the book. I am very happy about this, the book still has a few more months before it hits stores, but it's a great "buzz" for the book. Click the link below to see the book featured on the TCM website.

This is my last week in Boston and I have tons of stuff to pack and throw away. I will be living in San Francisco in less than a week!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Paul and I decided we were going to take all of our furniture and store it for 2-3 years, but then we realized we would be storing all this shit and it was going to cost more to store it than it’s actually worth. SO, I took on the task of trying to sell all of our stuff on Craigslist AND have a moving sale this Saturday (10am-1pm if you’re interested!)

I have to say the people on Craigslist are quite the characters.

Introducing: The Chronicles of Craigslist!

This man drove hear all the way from Rhode Island yesterday to buy our bedroom set. I specifically told him it’s a six-piece bedroom set. He shows up in this 1977 hatchback. UGH, so he comes upstairs to see the set and says, “Oh, I thought it was two dressers?” He was not listening. So, he decided to buy it anyway and he was going to make three trips with his jalopy. We proceed to bring down one of the dressers four flights of stairs. We get the dresser in his hatchback and it would have been the only piece he could have taken with him. Now he decides he doesn’t want it, so back up the four flights of stairs with the dresser. Go back to Rhode Island!!!

Next, is my favorite, an Asian lady named Nancy who is interested in the armoire cabinet. Oh Nancy! She calls me at 2pm saying she is driving her pickup truck and getting off the I93 Mass Ave exit. So I tell her how to get to my place from there, I live less than 10 minutes away. Almost four hours go by and I am wondering, did she get lost and is she still driving around the South End looking for my place? I had given up on her and then I hear my doorbell ring at 6:15pm, over four hours after she called me. I go downstairs and I don’t see anyone at the door but I can still hear the buzzer ringing. I open the door and look down and there's Nancy. She is about 4’6 and has the biggest grin on her face. I loved her the minute I saw her! So Nancy comes upstairs to see the armoire cabinet and after walking up to the five flights of stairs she sits down on the floor. She is panting and all out of breath sitting in the middle of the living room floor, telling me to “Wait a minute, wait a minute!”

After Nancy catches her breath she shakes my hand and says “Nice to meet’cha Nell.” Nell?!?! She immediately doesn’t like the armoire and starts looking through the stuff I was going to throw away. She ended up buying $70.00 worth of stuff I was going to put on the curb next trash day. So if you’re thinking of throwing something out, wait and call Nancy first. Finally, I bring all the stuff and load it into her pickup truck. I can’t picture Nancy driving period, never mind a pickup truck. So she gets in the truck and I cannot see anything but two hands on the steering wheel. I hear her yell “Dank you Nell!” and she drives off like a bat out of hell with all her new purchases flying around the back of the truck! I just shook my head and thought; the one good thing about posting furniture on Craigslist was meeting Nancy.:-)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

My Book is Available for Pre-Order!

Yesterday was my last day at Arnold, another chapter closed. Moving forward.... my new book was just announced for pre-order on my publisher's website this morning! Below are the details on the book:

Joan Crawford
An Illustrated Guide to Her Appearances in Film, Radio and Television
By: Michelle Vogel and Neil Maciejewski Foreword by Casey LaLonde
120 photographs, filmography, bibliography, index hardcover (7 x 10) 2007


Born March 23, 1904, in San Antonio, Texas, Joan Crawford began life as Lucille Fay LeSueur. Abandoned by her father and mistreated by her mother, Crawford was determined from an early age to succeed in the world of acting. While her early attempts did little to make her a star, her determination and perseverance paid off as she became one of Hollywood’s legends.

Focusing on a career which spanned six decades and more than 80 movies, this volume is the definitive reference guide to Joan Crawford’s life and show business career. It explores her introduction to show business through her step-father’s opera house, her initial work as a dancer under stage name Billie Cassin and her eventual 1925 entry on to the silver screen. It follows Crawford through her marriages to Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Franchot Tone, Phillip Terry and Alfred Steele. Crawford’s work with a number of big-name actors including Clark Gable, Fred Astaire, Spencer Tracy and Henry Fonda as well as her relationship with studio giants MGM and Warner Bros. are also discussed. A complete filmography provides details starting with Lady of the Night in 1925 through Trog, released in 1970. Never-before-seen photographs including rare candids and behind-the-scene shots accompany Joan Crawford’s amazing story.

About the Authors

Film historian Michelle Vogel is the author of Olive Thomas (2007), Marjorie Main (2006), Children of Hollywood (2005) and Gene Tierney (2005). She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Joan Crawford historian Neil Maciejewski lives in San Francisco, California. Casey LaLonde, Joan Crawford's grandson, lives in Pennsylvania.

HOOOORAYYY!! This book has been a labor of love and it's very exciting to see it actually ready for pre-order. The cover of the book and the page count is still undetermined but there will be 120 photos and it will be a hardcover book.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

New Job

In early November, I stumbled upon a job on Hot jobs that seemed to good to be true. I was contemplating moving to San Francisco to be with Paul and Zachary. The only reason I stayed in Boston when they decided to move out to San Francisco in September was my job. I realized that they were so much more important to me then keeping the job at Arnold that I was so passionate about. The job posting was for a New Business Project Manager, which is my current title. Seeing this job posting I just knew in my gut that I was going to get this job. It was not a cocky feeling, but a feeling of fate pulling me towards where I needed to be. I can’t explain it but I knew I was going to get the job. I had a two-hour phone interview before Thanksgiving and it went so well that they decided to fly me out for a live interview right after Thanksgiving. I was thrilled! My gut was pulling me towards were I needed to be.

I flew out to San Fran on Tuesday, November 28th with my new Banana Republic suit, an early Christmas present from Paul☺ I love it! I arrived in Oakland and I had to take the BART train to San Francisco. While I was on the train, I was looking out the window and taking in the new city I was going to live in. As I was looking out the window a HUGE rainbow started to appear and I took this as a huge welcome sign as I entered the city of San Francisco. It was the most vivid and brilliant rainbow I have ever seen. People looked in awe out of the train and I just smiled. I have always believed I have had “someone” watching over me and guiding me through this crazy life I have lived so far. In my eyes, that was a sign from above telling me I was making the right decision.

The day of my interview, I had to drive, and I have never driven in California before but I figured if I could drive in Boston, I could drive anywhere. The drive couldn’t have been easier and as I started to go across the Golden Gate Bridge, I could not take my eyes off of the amazing view I was seeing. I found it hard to concentrate on driving. It was unlike anything I have ever seen. As I made my way into the city, the view overwhelmed me and I started to cry. I had made it here. I made it to this point in my life that I never thought I would reach, a healthy and happy relationship, a son, a group of wonderful friends and possibly a dream job.

Arriving at the agency, I was even more in shock that it was right on the ocean overlooking the skyline of San Francisco. I started to pinch myself and slapped myself in the face because I really thought I was dreaming. The interview lasted all day and 9 people interviewed me. I felt confident leaving the agency and was so excited to see if I was going to be chosen for the job, I was told there was some stiff competition for this job. I still felt the same feeling in my gut but even stronger now, I was going o be working here, I could feel it and I smiled as I drove off.

On Friday, December 1st I was hoping to hear from the agency. As this was the only job that I had perused in the San Francisco area and I was not even looking at other possibilities, I did have an ounce of doubt but I remained confident. I got a call late Friday afternoon. It was Mary, my future boss, telling me that there was a lot of people vying for this job and she said their agency would love me to be part of their agency. I screamed!! I GOT THE JOB! I cannot explain the feeling that came over me when I was given the job. It was a sense of accomplishment but also confirmation that I was doing the right thing.

I start my new job on January 3rd, flying out on New Years Day. This is just the beginning of another great year. Since 2000, I have set out to set goals and accomplish something each year towards those goals. Here’s to a great start for 2007!