Hojo, We Hardly Knew Ye

Ladies and Gentlemen of Whazzmaster.com: The Hojo is no longer.

This has more sentimental impact than most news I read out of Madison considering the amount of time I spent within those walls. Indeed, I’ve got a guy flying across the nation tomorrow who I never would have met if not for Tom Ziarnick and his wacky band of managers.

Who reads and posts on this site? Wirksu, Cal, katiek, ubs, peterstiffly, GMC, Big J, and others. All at one time punched in at that horrible time clock in the back hallway. All ate at the mercy of the kind hand of cook Justin.

The only thing I can say about the change is that, if I worked there now, I would always tell Erin “i got a double-d waitin’ at the doubletree fer me” before I left for work. That lyric cracks me up.

A more fitting eulogy is not within the grasp of my meager writing skills, but I do not exaggerate when I say that my three years at Hojo were the most formative of my life, and I would not have the wealth of friends and experience without them. It’s sad to see the old girl go, as legions of college students will now work for the faceless DoubleTree Corp. rather than under the junko Howard Johnson’s name.

  • How many times did you sit in the parking booth on game days to earn extra dough?
  • How many times did you sign the Poop Log?
  • How many times did you face enraged people on oversold nights at 2am?
  • How many times did you do the trash with Springer on Sunday nights?
  • How many times were you on the roof?
  • How many times did you witness the awesome bartending power of Cal?
  • How many times did you spend 150% of your nights’ tips at The Living Room?
  • How many times did you flip University?
  • How many times did you flip Dean’s?
  • How many times did you attend the Sub Feast when you weren’t even scheduled that day? How many times were you enraged that everything had mayo on it?
  • How many Hojo parties did you attend? What was the best one?
  • How many times did you drive the bus? Illegally?
  • How many times did you have to call Chuck Zach at 6am on a Saturday because all the hot water heaters broke?
  • How many squirrels did you chase through the back hallway?
  • How many pots of coffee did you make? How many did you drink?
  • How many times did you swing closed that ancient gate that separated the lobby from the restaurant?
  • How many times did you try to enter through the side restaurant door, only to find it locked, then swear loudly?
  • How many times did you illegally park your car in the hojo lot and hope no one would find out? Subie? Is that you back there?
  • How many fights did you get into with Northwest Pilots? How many with Northwest Air Waitresses?
  • How many times did you crash the van?
  • How many vans did the Hojo go through while you worked there?
  • How many times did you fall asleep in the telephone room?
  • Now, how much do you miss those days?

How’s about everyone post a story from the Hojo’s glory days in comments? I declare it Hojo Week on whazzmaster.com. Join in the fun: whoever tells the best story as voted on by everyone else wins a special prize as designated by me. We’ll keep it open for a few days. Tell as many stories as you want, then we’ll figure out which was the best. katiek, tell your husband to get on here and post one; I’m sure the Chinese lawyers rank up there. Wirksu, tell bellgirl to regale us with various Bell Captainess stories. Quick, someone call Tangman and ask him to contribute.

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won; 
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: 
    But O heart! heart! heart!         5
      O the bleeding drops of red, 
        Where on the deck my Captain lies, 
          Fallen cold and dead. 

–Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.


36 thoughts on “Hojo, We Hardly Knew Ye

  1. Two things about the Today on Whazzmaster in 2004 link on the main page:Most of the comments are judd and scientist fighting about scientist being cheap. hilarious, and it all started because judd found a dime in the parking lot and did math wrong. amanda called his ass on it, and scientist ended up calling judd a lizard.quite a ways down the page, wirkus happily reported that the Brewers were 2-0. in fact, the Brewers are 2-0 today in 2005. i hope the rest of the season goes better for them this year :)My Hojo story is on its way. Don’t know which one to lead off with, but I have some ideas.

  2. This isn’t a full on story, but here is a tidbit from my personal HoJo history – me + HoJo Bus + Tom Ziarnik’s brand new truck = disaster. It was all the more sweet because TZ, Chuck and Steve (the only other people with CDLs at the time) were standing outside unloading furniture while I plowed into TZ’s ride. Spectacular.

  3. Holy shit. Does Tom Z have to change his name? Will the scum bucket remain the same? Only time will tell.

    What to say? A lot of happy times were spent trapped in that hotel. To this day, I brew my morning cup of joe from a pilfered 3-pot coffee maker, eat my meat from a hojo plate and sometimes, when there are no clean cups and it’s early and I’m hungover, drink juice from a Hojo monkey dish. Why the hell are those little bowls called monkey dishes? I mean, HOLY SHIT: I met my wife-to-be at that hotel.

    I remember sneaking moneypenny into the Red Shed after work. Dude was like 17 years old and it was his first time in a bar. He drank a long island ice tee, a glass of scotch and, I think, a shot of pucker. I also think he puked.

    And Makki Egali of the Sudan. Dude would always get mad at guests and co-workers and say he was going to punch them in the face and quit. He also wore more cologne than any man I’ve ever met.

    A lot of good came from that place. Wowsers.

  4. This place wouldn’t be called whazzmaster without the hojo. Also, there would have never been any late-night contests over whazzing as big show, todd, wirkus, and i started to really get competetive one day over lunch at bw-3. Also, that night at the Red Shed I drank four drinks which I will remember until the day I die. They were, in order, a long island golden tee, a cup of scotch, a shot of tequila, and another long island golden tee. When the cab dropped me off at home, he stopped in the middle of Regent Street to let me out. I literally rolled out of the cab and was laying in the street. The cabbie said, “You need help?” I grunted in the negative and stood up shakily to go bang on the back door and terrorize my then girlfriend, no wife.

  5. I still fondly give that place a two middle fingers up whenever I drive by. Ah, memories. I still watch TV on my grand prize HoJo TV. I wonder if Doubletree kept all the old management. As far as I knew, Sweet Mandy was running the place …

  6. Good post. Adios Hojo. Funny anecdote: I just recovered a deleted email from one of my colleagues at work, and I noted that I had a lot of emails in there from Heather, so I counted them up. In the past month, I have deleted 212 emails from Heather. That’s not counting the ones I sent to her. That’s a lot of emails.

  7. This is indeed a sad day. As you say, working for the faceless DoubleTree Corp rather than the Howard Johnsons’s means the world! To this day whenever I see some ragged old hojo’s fallin apart along the highway I feel an affinity for the old girl. I could uncap Budweiser’s there, I think. But DoubleTree? Meaningless. Will scores of simpletons ever come into the DoubleTree “lounge” to convey their shock at seeing a “DoubleTree” in Times Square? Will very old people ever reminisce to their waitresses over delicious “DoubleTree” Hot Dogs? Can “DoubleTree” be spotted from afar due to an absurdly painted ROOF? No. Those little worker bees will never suffer the embarrassment of working in a hotel of a forgotten era (in that GODAWFUL bow tie!) but nor will they ever bond together over the humility gained in bizarre connection to an all but dead piece of Americana.

  8. hojo story I wasn’t part of: my mom was staying at the hojo for work… Matt L. was driving her to some building, and tried to park the van, but crashed into another car. Then when he tried to back away from the crashed car, he re-crashed into it.

  9. Who else was present when Tangman jumped off a stack of chairs and smashed an 8′ wide a la the Spanish Announcer’s Table? I am proud to say I was.

  10. what about the ultimate blunder of leaning on his walkie-talkie to broadcast his smack talking accross the hotel! poor guy, he was the best, that guy. a toast to Matt.

  11. RE: Matt’s uncouth language towards The Housekeeping Horror: I believe that Tom Marks and Maurice were also present. Actually, I think Maurice was the one fired over that brouhaha, Matt wasn’t. I may be misremembering, though.

  12. Phill Violi, Eric Jeske, and that chick hated me and I hated them. They seemed kind towards Wirksu, though. ERIC JESKE WITH BILLY ZANE!

  13. miss jackson if you’re nasty was her name, I think. old school hojo was really bitchy and mean to new people… then they fired all the J.A.’s and eventually people just turned nice. go figure.

  14. I’m sorry Jen Jackson *oooooh* but I am fo reaaaaal! Hate to say yo boy-friend is so vain, but he’s in L.A. with Billy Zane…

  15. I saw Ms. Jackson about a month ago. She was big and I thought she might be preggers, but then I saw her smoking. Who knows? I parked her boyfriend’s truck. he seemed like an ok guy.

  16. They changed the signage to Doubletree about a week ago. I was driving down Johnson Street and saw green lettering reading “Doubletree” and almost drove off the road thinking I had entered a gap in the time-space continuom. I see Doubletree vans driving to the airport now too. According to secondhand reports from Sweet Mandy, they put the staff through the twelve week Doubletree traning course in three weeks. With their “new clientele”, I wonder if the bellmen will actually make money at that place now. I hope the bellmen there still break out the television and watch RAW on Monday nights.

  17. Reggie showed me the porn in the fitness room trick within a half hour of my first shift with him. I wonder what the hell that kid is up to now. I’d say about 320.

  18. holy christ. best poker deal ever.

    i don’t play at pokerroom anymore. i play at betonbet.

    EXACT SAME TABLES AND SOFTWARE. different logo on the table. you’re playing at the same tables… Yippi is there… the whole pokerroom crew, but you’re on betonbet.

    here is the deal… betonbet has a FUCKLOAD better deals.

    here is my affiliate link: http://www.betonbet.net/?a=548

    here is what you get if you sign up.

    20% deposit bonus on your first deposit, $100 max bonus ($500 deposit). this pay off at 12 hands per dollar. 1200 points to clear $100 bonus. probably 2-3 nights.

    THEN, you get a percentage of your rake back based on how much rake you paid: (to estimate your rake i would say its about $1 for every 10 player points you earn)

    Step 1 $0 – $200 0% (No Rake Back)
    Step 2 $200 – $500 10%
    Step 3 $500 – $1500 20%
    Step 4 $1500 – $4000 30%
    Step 5 $4000 – $7000 35%
    Step 6 $7000 + 40%

    most casual players fall into 10-20%!

    also, they let you cash in the player points too.

    seriously, i just signed up under someone else and i’m exstatic as the player. great deal.

  19. make sure to sign up under madd so you can make him more money than he already wins at playing poker cause his is so good he could always use more

  20. finding an old friend: bookworm.

    now that i have the 2 monitor set up, i like to play games while i play cards. i am back to bookworm. i guarantee i can get a higher score in boomworm than anyone. ever.

    anyways, i just spelled “SEED” using a green tile… score for that play: 420.

    the score for SEED is 420.

    god is telling us something.

  21. Yo, Phill Violi didn’t hate you, Zach. He was just a flake. Now Jeske could be kind of a dick.

    Also, Jen Jackson is not preggers, she just got big. And her boyfriend is a creep.

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