Saturday, February 17, 2001

For the last coupla weeks, I ve had a project on the back burner, languishing in my e-mail drafts.....

Jules of LA and her husband would like to visit NYC and do it up for a few days, and asked me what I would suggest.

I thought I could handle it.

But the task has kinda floored me, because an itinerary of NY without doing the usual suspects is difficult.

Not that there is anything wrong with the usual suspects (Times Square, Chinatown, Broadway, Statue of Liberty, the Tall Buildings, the Museums etc)... but I wanted to suggest the 'real' New York.
I didnt wanna give her a crappy list.


Im starting to think, Im not up to the job, really - and, I suspect most New Yorkers arent.

Im not sure why. Maybe the task is too big. Maybe New York is just too much.

My original thought was to just send her the Manhattan Bus and Subway maps and let her peruse 'em.

But prolly the best way to go about it, would be to ask myself what I would do if I were gone for awhile and came back...

With a $17 unlimited Metrocard for the week in hand, I would, at the very least:

- Take a cab ride up the FDR to 72nd. Not down. Up.
- Take an early morning or late evening ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Also, take a ride up the Hudson past manhattan.
- Take a helicopter ride around manhattan, preferably on a clear haze-less day so that you can see the mountains and all the way down the coasts too.
- Walk from the Tribeca/Hudson Tunnel area up Canal Street to the Bowery. Make a right at Mott Street and do Little Italy. I would highly suggest Pellegrino's for their lunch specials.
- Take the Subway to the West 4th station and wander aimlessly around the East Village from there.
- Do the Union Square greenmarket on a Saturday.
- Walk down the island from around Lincoln Square to Wall Street. Although Second Avenue route is good, I would walk down Broadway all the way.
- Take the bus from Columbia University all the way down Broadway to the ferry, taking the day to get on and off at will.

Yeah.. thats what I would do.

Although that list may seem prosaic and dry at a first reading, doing any and all of the above will hit ya with all the unrelentingly steamy energy and sensory overload of a tropical forest.

Unforgettable, and probably like nothing else you will see, feel or hear elswhere.

Uniquely New York.

Yeah, thats the ticket.. if you came back to NY and wanted to do things that made you appreciate NY - what wouldja do?

If anyone wants to send Jules suggestions on how theyd do NYC without the usual suspects, please send her your thoughts....

Friday, February 16, 2001

Stuff that I coulda caught on camera today, but didnt cause the camera is blotto...

>> A mile out on the bay, the ferry coming through the mist and rain to Manhattan, and what looked like a seagull floated in the wind across the bow...

Turned out to be a lonely heart-shaped mylar balloon.. a loose remnant of Val's Day.

Unbidden, the line from a Tex Avery cartoon came to mind:

"The joke's over, man."

>> The rarest of sights in downtown Brooklyn's Columbus Park, as Jules of NY and I strolled through the rain after a Starbux evening..

A 10-dollar bill on the ground.

This is the first time Ive ever found green money on the ground in New York.

New Yorkers are sharp eyed as hell, and if the rain hadnt plastered the bill to the ground - I absolutely guarantee somebody would have sprinted across the street to scoop up the money before I could get to it.

No, I am not joking.

>> Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, through the rain and drizzle.


With the wet weather, the bridge was bereft of the usual tourists, strollers and cyclists.

The bridge looked like a movie set, with footpath's streetlights lighting up the wet planks to a bedazzling light show, the mist covered skyline providing a softly glowing background.

I called Jules to tell her I shoulda turned back and borrowed a camera from her to capture all this.

She laughed, as she wouldve.....

But I just kept on walking in the soft drizzle, wondering how it would all look if it started snowing..

I was gonna explain why I glowingly praised a married woman's breasts and she enjoyed it .. how another woman and I discussed spooning each other....and how I got into an intense discussion with another as to why doing it doggie style is the best pure position...

But yanno.. nah.

That's my business.
The other night, the stylish femme sized me up as we sat talking....

She said I didnt trust people, and kept my emotional distance.

Since this wasnt news to me, I kept my emotional distance. :-)

Yes, I do that.. and consciously with most folk.

I cannot trust most folks with my feelings.

It brings to mind, when the jealous ex-lover was trying to dissuade me from going out with the girl, asked me..

"Dont you want to be just her friend?"

I retorted "No. I already have enough friends."

She just stopped, speechless for the first time.

Thats exactly right.

Some folk subscribe to the theory that you cant have enough friends.

Nah. Im selective as to the folk I want as my friends. Those arent trivial choices.

The three things of topmost priority in my life are these:

1) Me, since I cant take of anyone if I dont take care of myself.
2) My family, as no one else will give shit when push comes to shove.
3) My friends, as I wont get anywhere in life without them.

Really, nothing else matters.

For my family - I will go to war.

Since I cant get anywhere without my friends, I regard their trust and loyalty as paramount.

They are not my family, however.

At a certain point, I cannot be as overly concerned about them.. as their lives are their business.

Therefore, I have to be picky about whom I should care deeply about.

So, yeah -in extremis, I keep my emotional distance to keep my sanity.

Thursday, February 15, 2001

About the Valentine's Day suicide jumper.. cyn commented..

> suicide on v day?
> how trite.
> man, i'm terrible.

Nah, thats not terrible at all. I feel the same way. Strongly.

The person was an idiot.

In fact, 'trite' is a perfect word to describe it.
Ultimately, a meaningless act.

I cant see folk committing suicide over ANYONE.

A) There is too much life to live.
B) There are always other folk out there, no matter how besotted you might get over one person.

Sorry, that just stupid. Wasting your life over someone, probably in hope of thinking the person will be sorry when you die.


They will probably go on and live out their lives...
Looped on the mp3 rack

Da Brat - Funkdafied
DMX - Up In Here
Shaggy - It Wasnt Me
Notorious B.I.G - Big Poppa
Shaggy w/Janet Jackson - Mistah Lover
Will Smith - Miami

Wednesday, February 14, 2001

I woke up surly, continuing my crappy mood from the night previous.

I had promised to celebrate St Val's Day previously, but.. eh.. ferk it..

Then I logged on.. and got a card from my Dear Pal Poo. Them Nova Scotians know how to warm up cold nights boyo...

Then G sent a card sent to her Mr Miyagi. *hee hee* Loved that. :-)

And when I signed onto AIM, I got even more love, local and long-distance.

Warmed, and not even likkered up, I decided to celebrate St Vals Day again and be the Honey-Tongued Dragon, as cyn calls me.. :-)

I hadda lotta fun sending out love to my much deserving valentines. :-)

And I had even more fun getting the appreciation riiiight back.

Whoo. *fan fan* :-)

Now, for this and other reasons later in the night.. this has been the best St Val's Day Ive had in years.

To top it off at the end of the night, I had a heart-shaped balloon float above my head, and then hovered.

It even said.. Air Jamaica.

I shit you not. I have that balloon as I type..

Who sez love aint powerful? :-)


The ferry shuddered violently as it slammed to an emergency all-stop - throwing me to the side.

The normally somnolent deck-hands were already stepping-to and sprinting to the rear of the giant ship as the loudspeakers blared out curt instructions....

Puzzled, we - the passengers - looked at each other, not believing what appeared to be happening.

The only reason a ferry will stop in the middle of the bay is if someone went overboard.

That is not good, as jumping off the ferry into New York Bay is a very efficient way to die.

And sure enough, that's what was happening.

I realized Ive become a New Yorker, when I muttered "Damned idjit is gonna make me late, because he gets f&$^%# suicidal on f*%%^#% Valentine's Day. Now Im gonna be f%^#$&% late.."

Hey, it wasnt just me feeling that way.

The procedure for a ferry jumper is for the boat to slow and circle the area looking for the inconsiderate idjit.

Spotlights scanning, this normally goes on for about an hour.

Oy vey.

As most veteran New Yorkers will tell you - if you really want to jump and die, dont do the bridges.
Thats for amatuers who want to survive.. painfully.. as it only takes minutes for NYPD Emergency Services to respond.

No, if you truly want to die.. jump into the middle of New York Bay from a giant Newhouse or Kennedy class ferry.

If the wash from the powerful propulsion doesnt pull you under, the cold and turbulent tidal currents in the Bay will finish you off very quickly.

And the NYPD boats, having to cover up to 6 miles, will get there in 20 minutes or more, too long to save you.

If they find you.

More often than not, the body is never found.

The ferry crew gave up right at 45 minutes, leaving the hunt to the Coast Guard and the NYPD boats.

Valentines Day .. man.

The truly surreal part of all that? I got an excuse slip from the Ferry Office for the delay caused by the man overboard.

Someone suggested I frame it.
Odd but true conversation I cant believe I was having with a stylish femme Id only just met outside the Astor Place Starbux late last night.
Setup: Two Venti Mochas in one night.

Me: Dammit, the line to the one bathroom is stacked 20 deep.
femme: Well, why not go over to KMart.. they have lovely facilities...
Me: Mmm.. never thought of that.
femme: You WANT to pee. Go over there.
Me: *squirm* True. Where is it in there?
femme: Ask them when you go there.
Me: Where the heck would it be.. there are three levels in that place.
femme: How the heck would I know. My friend was the one who used it and told me that was a good place with a bathroom.
Me: Id probably have to buy something.
femme: TELL them you are. Youre entitled.
Me: Hmm. *Squirm*

I ended up using the tried and true Starbux loo.. being careful not to touch anything, naturally....
As the stylish femme said last night as we parted ways.. "That was about the best Valentine's night Ive had in years."

Yup, the suicidal Valentine's Day jumper aside - I would have to agree.

Even better, no chocolate or jewelry were harmed during the festivities.

Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Sometimes, even folk who know me, think I write about everything in a journal..

I dont.

This aint meant to be a blow by blow of my days. Just what I think of it.

Among the things that I may not mention is what I do in a given day, which is often nothing, but I often go walkabout with abandon.

If I were driving, I would be sending in missives from neighboring states every weekend.

Anyway, after reading Jules of LA's movie reviews - I'll mention that I caught a few movies the last coupla days.

I find it more notable for the fact that I rarely do movies in this town.

Primarily because Im not amenable to blowing 10 bux to see one show.

However, I did catch 'Finding Forrester' and 'Wonder Boys' , and oh yeah.. "Crouching Tiger..."

Thats the thing about seeing movies. I regard being on a movie date as being only one step above a blind date.. which is why I squirm and try to avoid doing that as much as I can.
Why? I rarely get see the movies I want to see then.

Oy. Point in fact, I remember going on one, where a jealous ex-lover insisted on tagging along. I did not know she was a very jealous ex-lover until waaay after.No, I dint get to enjoy myself, as the jealous exlover managed to sit in between us.. all night.

And of course, I still didnt get to see what I wanted... some crappy chick flick instead.

I dont know why I just remembered that.

Oh yeah, why I prefer going to the movies alone.

Or did I want to talk about the movies I saw these last coupla days?

I forget.
Cyn and I often get deep in our e-mail exchanges... this time we are discussing our anti-social tendencies on meeting folk.

Specially folk from online..

Myself, I try to avoid it as much as possible, frankly. Conciously and unconsciously.

Actually, its a pet peeve of mine.

As I wrote, being a big black bloke:

...just to give you an idea into my world...

People bringing a crowd along to meet me. Constant cell phone calls to people as pre-aranged signals to show theyre ok. People who 'accidentally' show up.

Crap like that.

Above and beyond my general nature, its enough to make me *quite* antisocial in general, as I dont think I need these people in my life THAT badly.

But, I try to understand.

Whats worse is when people Ive known awhile, who should really know better, do that same kinda shit.

Makes it that much easier when I decide who needs to be kicked out of my world.. because sometimes, it IS satisfying being anti-social.

Ugh. Yeah, Im in a crappy mood.

Tricianna waxes rhapsodic...

» in a latte induced haze, i noticed that manhattan, despite all the trash and tourists, is gorgeous. for the first time in a long while, the grays and black and silvers of the buildings, glinting in february sunlight was just breathtaking. with my coffee in one hand, i grinned like a goofy kid, walking across midtown just like a person who's never seen a city before. it seemed oh-so magnificent, all these glorious edifices of glass and steel and stone, lining wide streets like people watching a parade. tall, short, stumpy, flashy. i will never leave you, new york. never.

not even for san francisco.

Hey, she said it - I didnt. :-)
In the same vein, Carol put an idea in my head.

Walking up the San Franciscesque hills of St George to her place, I had turned back and drunk in the stunning wide view of Manhattan and Brooklyn across New York Bay.


Comparable in breathtaking view as from San Francisco's Twin Peaks neighborhood.. but at an eighth the price and twice the power.

I looked at the apartment buildings overlooking this view and thought it would be nice to have a place to live, perchance to write.

A room with a view indeed.

Later, even though I hadnt mentioned it, she proffered the option of me living there in the near future.

I acted like .. eh.. but it bugged me all day.

Its bugging me now.

Monday, February 12, 2001

Writing this down so that I dont forget the feeling...

Im perched, leaning forward at the desk, absorbed in analysis.

The sun is setting, the white yet golden yet chilly glow of a late-winter Northeast afternoon filtering through the stained glass of the study windows.

The wooly fuzzy slippers are providing comfort and warmth.

Ive got Minnie Ripperton's light, sweet Loving You looped to provide a soothing ambient field.

I knew HappyCat had come into the study, but I'd lost track of him.

Then I feel a soft warmth behind me, as HappyCat had quietly leapt behind me and was now curled up on the chair behind my back, snoozing.

Apparently he was grooving on the quiet ambience too.

I try not to disturb him and continue with what Im doing.


One of those moments in time...

Sunday, February 11, 2001

My horrorscope for today:

"This is going to be a serious sort of week and you won't be in the mood for fun and games.
A decision about your job will have to be made this week, and the important thing is to think long term and don't go for instant gratification.
As far as money matters are concerned, the planets indicate that you have been too passive.
It's time to go out and take what you want."

I realized I was being a hypocrite.

As Carol and I wandered Soho yesterday among the clouds of BMW's, Mercedes and expensively-clad urbanites, I was actively sneering at the over-priced places, the people straining to fit into twhat their ideas of what the area is supposed to be.

Then I realized, I wanted all of that.

Not to be an over-reaching wannabe, but to have the wherewithal to be or not be in that area.

To have the cash, the options to wander around with that confidence that says I can pick or choose as I feel, the confidence that only a flush balance can give..

The biggest epiphany of all it turns out, was that I was sneering not at those people, but at myself for wanting much of the same things as the maddening crowds.
On the mp3 rack:

Erykah Badu - Next Lifetime
Brothers Johnson - Stomp
Shanice - I Like Your Smile
TLC - Creep
Zhane - Mr DJ
Uhura: what have you been up to?
Uhura: aside from the si site-- which still puzzles me
JPennant: heh
JPennant: just trying to figure out things for myself, and trying to not tell folk to fuck off for passing judgement on my life.
Uhura: i think folks are more concerned than passing judgement
JPennant: and thats the only thing that keeps me from actually going off on them.
Uhura: and isn't the pot calling the kettles black?

Uhura: Uhura: once i stop getting free aol, then i'm going to have verizon hook this sister up!
JPennant: your cheap ass will never do it. :-)

JPennant: Apparently, Im tired of being tactful too. :-)
Uhura: what's the only thing that keeps you from going off on them?
JPennant: That some are concerned for me
JPennant: But it gets old telling folk that all that is happening to me are my choices. Im not a victim.
Uhura: as long as you can see where folks are coming from and why they keep on you.
JPennant: I made my choices
JPennant: I take responsibility for them.
JPennant: No regrets.
Uhura: right. but folks worry about why you are making choices that don't seem to be the best for you.
Uhura: yes, you are grown
Uhura: and yes you do take responsiblity for your actions
Uhura: however, most of your friends see you as a brilliant guy
Uhura: and they are wondering why a brilliant guy is making these types of choices.-- is there something going on that they don't know about?
Uhura: or is there something truly wrong?
Uhura: which is why you get so much noise about your choices
JPennant: hm
JPennant: trying to look at things for the long term, and Im working from ground zero - something I havent had to do in years.
JPennant: problem tho, is that my wants and needs are conflicting
Uhura: yeah, not much point in living life in a holding pattern
JPennant: yup
JPennant: area you moving in a direction you want to be going in now?
JPennant: yep. although its damned difficult to see progress. Theres still a whole buncha issues to deal with.
JPennant: And I have no guide, manual or mentor to guide me.
JPennant: So, right now - Im going on articles of faith.
Uhura: a lot of the great philosophers and psychologist say one thing in common
Uhura: once man's basic needs are met, he can move on to the higher things
Uhura: the basics are food and shelter. know that you have a place to rest your head and where your next meal is coming from and you aer clear to move on to other things atht are equally important
JPennant: zactly
Uhura: take care of your self first, then you are in a position to take care of someone else
JPennant: well put
JPennant: heh, but youre telling me things that Im already trying to work thru hon :-)
JPennant: I'll get there. Dont worry.

The doorbell rang.

I think this is one of the few places in the boroughs, no prolly the only borough, that a postman will leave a package out on your doorstep.

I was dressing to head into the city, but I had a feeling it was what I was waiting for.

I looked it over, and sure enough, it was something sent my way.

Yah, Bluefly had delivered my fuzzy slippers/booties.

Even though I was on my way out the door... I hadda try 'em out.

Oh yesssssssssssssss......

Bliss. :-)

I will never do without a pair of fuzzy slippers ever again.

As god is my witness.