Saturday, May 19, 2001

For the first time for a long time, I met folk for coffee and conversation.

Astor Place starbux natch.

People around us were listening to our wide-ranging convo, specially as we talked about one of the great works of the last century.. The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy.

One guy even stopped by our table, waiting, until we stopped, looked up at him.. as he grinned and said "I just have to say, I agree.. those are the best books Ive ever read."

Then he grinned a grin of pure joy and walked away.

Of course, now that he (Doug Adams) is dead, I have to pay tribute and read them again.

"..and thanks for all the fish", indeed. :-)
One of the most heated topics was...crossing 30.


I might have been a tad condescending. My bad. :-)

But I knew how they were gonna react. I did the same thing back then.

Since I was talking to twenty-somethings.. I tried to impart that ..yes.. crossing the age of 30 is indeed a big deal.

You wont appreciate just how much until yer a few years past it.

Not anticlimactic at all, either.

When I was younger, I listened, and tried to get it. But I was a bit indignant.

These elder fuckers were talking down to me! YES, I could understand. And here's why...

Shit, they werent THAT much older than me!

They would chuckle and say.. "Just wait.. you'll see."

And.. sure enough.. I said the same thing this night.

We got into the Saturn Return, life cycles, the wisdom of cliches, the art of acceptance and appreciation of time and our place... all that.

Since these werent yer average dumb bunnies, they pressed me and disputed points.

Very cool. :-)

At least they wanted to know, even if they were a bit dismissive as to the importance of crossing the age of thirty.

Their point was.. it wasnt that quantum a leap. Theyve lived and kinda been there. Its just a number. Not a definitive age.

I gave that to them.. its different for different folk.

But it IS a different level. On all kinds of levels.

At least they listened. They'll understand later.

In anycase, I told them what I could.

Because I have my own concerns.

Ive still got hurdles.

Forty and fifty is upcoming far too soon.

This time, Im just hoping I'll get there.

Not just through it.
The Venti Mocha didnt really affect me..

Good. Either not drinking a shitload of coffee daily is helping or my tolerance threshold isnt as acute.. but its good news.

The other night in the supermarket, I stood pondering at a coffee maker on sale.

I want to, but I shouldnt.

I dont drink a whole lot of coffee anymore. And having a carafe available and around..this would get me back in the habit.

Plus, Id have to buy filters an coffee an chit.

Yes, I would save money.. but not having enough for a 10 oz New York cup occasionally.. no, thats not a bad thing.

I wrestled with all these sisyphian thoughts before I finally chucked the rock and left the coffee maker on the shelf.

But its still on my mind.

For a couple of reasons, I havent been on AIM much, if at all these last coupla days.

I think its the prudent thing to do.

People are in a ... mood.. lately. So have I.

Things are chapping our hides, as it were.

Normally, thats not a problem and it happens regardless - but this time the timbre is slightly different. Escalation is happening quickly.

Vociferously talking *at* each other, not to each other.

Its just not me. Im noticing it with a lot of folk in general lately, online and off.

And if people are reading personal things into this, this has nothing to do with folk pissed at me and whatnot.


No, this is a general thing.

I'm on a short fuse myself.. and I find myself talking and talking more.

Ive even noticed that in my own entries lately.

Since brevity is the soul of wisdom, its better for me to shut up until this bad energy passes.

But not here on the blog. Just on AIM.

This here is my release.


I send Rashid a letter, and he sends me back a compliment:

You hit the nail on the head, one blow and into the plank.

Did I ever tell you that the crisp, clean economy of your writing sometimes makes me envious? Don't make me have to tell you again.

Zis is why I am now in a bothered state.

(wait for it, wait for it....)



(Sam Kinnison and Charlie Brown moment.)

If I didnt appreciate it before, I do now.

All through my young adult life, I avoided even thinking of writing a a living.

Being a starving writer is not a kind fate. Suffering for your craft, with only a lottery chance of actually making a decent living from it.

I didnt wanna go there.

And now...


Id like to fight it, because I cant. I write even when Im not writing.

And Im fucking poor.

Yes, I know this is the wellspring of creativity - where poverty gives you inspiration and material.. but.. noooooooooooooooo...

I didnt want to admit to it.


Ah well, time to go get me a job at Blockbusters.....
Writing exercise:

Often story material is all around you.. use that as a starting point...


I live in an apartment over stores.

One of the stores is a hair-dressing place owned by a minor sicilian mobster.

He is FROM Sicily.

He has a bouffant, drives a mercedes that still has snow tires.. and yes.. wears pinkie rings.

The other store is a club called the "Dawg House", painted black with giant eyes and a bone under a wide half-moon opening.

It is owned by an itinerant son of the local police chief.

My buildings neighbors are: a young egyptian couple with a newborn, a man who is a foreman at a bra factory, a man who is never seen, a not-so-faded Puerto Rican beauty with her children who brings me food unexpectedly every so often, and a young, anti-social geek who is the superintendent of the building.

The geek super has an on-going feud with the club, calling the cops every week.

The super also has as a life mission of harrassing spammers.

He doesnt have many close friends.

He is afraid the musicians who want to meet him in a dark alley.

The building is owned by a very well-connected lawyer.. who is jewish.

There are 3 banks, literally in front of my building, right across the street.

There is a pool hall on the same block.

There is also a nail parlor on the same block, housed on the former premises of a jeweler, the letters of the jewellers name still in a multi-marbled mosaic in front of the doors on the sidewalk.

There is a karaoke bar a block away.

The nearby catholic church rings its musical bells at 6am every morning, several times a day on sundays.

The puerto-rican beauty's boyfriend is a minor celebrity.. a musician. He tried to commit suicide on New Years day. He is a NJ Transit bus driver.

The nearby newstand/gift store is owned by expatriate Ugandan/guyanese Indian immigrants.

The lady working there has six fingers... a thumb split in two.. all her nails painted bright red.

The deli around the corner is owned by two egyptian brothers.

One owned a disco in california in his youth.

As far as I know, I am the only black man living on this block.

There are several motorcycle clubs in this town.

Every weekend, there has been an "incident" involving members or even between rival members of the club.

The man who had the apartment before me.. left leaving all his belongings.. including his birth certificate.

His girlfriend, who smashed the intercom so I cannot hear my buzzer.. has been missing for several months.

No one knows where he is either.

Both are presumed dead.


Damn. You cant make *this* shit up.

(This entry is a day late.
Dont bother me.. I flipped a coin.. MechWarrior or write?...answer: Female Voice of Mech computer - "Planet: Baker 3. Ambient temperature: Neg-ative three four point five four degrees. All systems: Nominal. *Enemy powerup*...detected. *Enemy powerup*... detected.".. Im ready to go to war, furiously entering cheat codes and targeting incoming threats, my ridiculously over-armed four-stories high personal TimberWolf coming to life and already stepping out with extreme prejudice...Call Sign: 'Fool'...)

Around the online world..

JettaGirl, as usual puts it well:

Now, with that in mind, I just feel like not talking to people for awhile until I can completely reaquaint myself with myself.

Frankly, I dont feel like arguing with folk, so Ive pretty much been chilling from everyone deliberately and 'not' (loong story..).

"The planets" (and yes, I do know the significance of when Uranus makes a square angle to another major planet) are in alignment where a comment will ignite a fued where it normally wouldnt.

Belle will back me up on this. :-)

People think Im arguing with everyone.. heh.. no. Just a few folk.

On the flip side of this.. this kinda tension-filled energy induces change, pushing and exposing things that would normally not be said or exposed.

Its not all bad.

But lets just say, particularly with folk who are inclined to be slightly high-strung already, the finer side of diplomacy, would best be left unsaid.

Cause we cant always plead 'planetary insanity'.
Im madly in admiration for my personal unix queen.. zannah of /usr/bin/girl.

I may not read her site(s) daily, but I damned well learn something every time I do.

By following her own interests, she tends to be slightly ahead of the curve.

Got a secret.. if you want to see some of my future technology plans, watch her ... (she's why I started to blog and why Im learning Perl, php and mySQL)..

She tends to hand code, using unix utilities.. and wit some folk, it pays to spring into 'view source' just to read code....

And in her code lies the following..

[!-- * my name is not merv griffin * --]

[!-- * the world needs more pants * --]

[!-- and hi. blogger is so pissing me off right now. --]

Yeah, she my kinda goil...

Although Im also madly in like with the sublime writings of Belle, Cosmic Amanda, Aiyah chica, JettaGirl, CubicleGirl, Will Santos (esq), Young Son, Jamie, Em, George and the others who inhabit my links list...

They allow me to see another lifetime without without all the hassles of reincarnation.

They do feed my soul.

Joey. Honey.

BRUCE Hornsby and the Range.

Yas don't mess wid my Bruce.

- Belle


This is why I need her as my editor.

This points to something Ive been noticing recently.
Things arent coming to the fore as quickly as they used to..

Names, apt words, facts, details..

Im usually almost savant-like in my ability to quickly retrieve this stuff from the maisma of my mind.

But, increasingly, specially after doing tech work, where you have to keep tech minutae to the fore so as to troubleshoot quickly - I am now finding myself without the facility to remember quickly the little things.

Like BRUCE Hornsby, not MIKE Hornsby. Gah.

This is why Im feening to do a substantial brain dump of werk-related shytte.

One of my little idiot trix is I do the daily newspaper jumbles and some of the crosswords in my head, just as exercise. I dont have to write it down.

Except last nite, instead of my allotted 30 seconds to solve the 4 or 5 jumbled words, I spent the entire 35 minute bus ride from midtown New York City to Bayonne staring at one 'word'.

For the life of me, I was in a brain fuzz.. I couldnt unscramble it.

Still cant.


I KNOW what it is. But I cant remember.

This worries me.
(...."Enemy Mech .. destroyed. Reinforcements... en-route...Sensors indicate...Incoming friendly dropships.... Dy-Do and Vic-tory. Return to Firebase for shutdown. All enemy mechs.. destroyed.
Mission: Successful.")

Thursday, May 17, 2001

I knew before I finished eating, I had made a mistake.

I had promised myself that I wouldnt buy ANY prepared takeout food.. and Ive been good this last coupla months.

I wanted to save money, eat right and keep my steady weight loss going..

But when I saw the little chinese takeout right next to the laundromat last night, and smelled the aromas - I gave in.

I was hungry.

From when I paid the higher than listed price to halfway chewing the untasty meal, I knew I had given in too quickly.

Now, all I have to do is remember that over-priced, crunchy, burned, greasy chicken to keep on track.
I stepped out the door lugging my little cart to go late-night grocery shopping.. and stepped right into a scene of flashing lights, parked gas utility trucks, police and fire vehicles, the sreet cordoned off with yellow tape, and 50 fire-fighters standing around looking concerned.


I got the attention of one of the firemen..

Me: Uhh..did I just step into a gas emergency?
FF: Well, there was a fire under a manhole cover. We're just waiting for PSG&E to check things out.

(New York, by law, runs most of the electrical and assorted wiring underground to keep them protected from storms and whatnot. Its the norm in the New York area..)

Me: =o. Oh yah, I remember seeing what I thought was steam coming from the manhole earlier this evening. Thought that was odd, since its too warm for steam.
FF: And you had the sense not to step on it, right?
Me: Yep.
FF: You're smart.. because... jesus..look at *this* #%@&*%#&..

(As we spoke, a young man had walked THROUGH all the tapes and emergency vehicles specifically blocking off the area, blithely stepping ON the manhole cover in question...)

FF: And *he* walks directly ON ... HEY! HEY!! GET AWAY FROM THERE!!... we're waiting around just in case there is an explosion and all the manhole covers blow off... jesus.. some people dont have any sense... YOU had the sense to avoid it.
Me: Uhh.. yah.

(I didnt mention that I normally dont step on manhole covers anyway, because having worked with them, I know theyre not always set properly. And then there have been the incidents where horses are occasionally electrocuted walking over the electrical conduit covers. It happens...)

Me: Awright, sounds like a good time for me to go shopping. :-)
FF: Good idear...

Although manhole covers flipping high up in the air would be a COOHOOOL thing to see.. :-)
Being the night owl kinda person, I have always preferred to go grocery shopping late, late, late at night.

I think the habit started back in Chicago, when Jewel opened one of their first 24 hour supermarkets in the late 80's, and everyone quickly followed.

For me, it was a godsend - because, like going to the laundromat in a timely fashion.. it is just a PAIN to go grocery shopping during normal hours.

I think one of my unconscious criterion for a neighborhood, is a 24-hour supermarket near the house....

I dunno. I just like to take my TIME shopping without a buncha people around.
Ive always thought clipping coupons to be a massive waste of time, for the returns you get.

The coupons savings being usually too insignificant, and the products not what you'd normally buy, coupons expiring before you use 'em, as well as the coupons being for over-priced schtuff anyways...

I think Ive been lookin' at it the wrong way.

The other day, someone told me to follow her example and shop from the store circulars... so I took my time and did.

ZOUNDS!!!! A full shopping cart cost me almost HALF what I thought it would!

Okay... that got my attention... specially now.

I always thought I was a careful, if undisciplined shopper... but this saved me more than I ever thought it would.

The next time I shopped, I brought along some coupons from the Sunday paper, for basic stuff I would buy anyways.

ZOUNDS REDUX!!!! ANOTHER third off the same bill. Oh my god.

I had read in "The Millionaire Next Door" that many of the folk who had and quietly sustained significant wealth... had a habit of clipping coupons, even though they really didnt have to sweat the small stuff anymore.

You know... Im starting to GET it now....
Yeah. I look like a little old lady.

Pushing that cart around.

I got a little hand cart the other day because A) I dont relish lugging a duffel bag fulla laundry around and B) Walking five blox (the distance from the house) with a weeks worth of groceries isnt fun.

Even in New Jersey, specially this close to NYC.. most people dont drive.

And even then, I honestly think its ridiculous to fire up the sedan to go one block to the laundromat and five blox for groceries.

Thats the thing about New York and its environs.. almost everything you need is within WALKING distance.

So, I bit the bullet and got me a cart the other day.

Yeah, I feel like an idiot.

But it sure saves wear, tear and pain. In just a few days, this thing has become a TREASURED possession.

I dont know how I did without one before. Even if I were driving.. Id keep one in it.

Those little old ladies arent stupid....
I miss my music.

Shopping in a quiet supermarket you can really hear the muzak.. which has come a LONG way in sophistication and selection, reminded me of it...

Ever since I started moving around years ago, it was a pain lugging my record collection around. And since the majority of it got stolen from storage, Ive never really made it a priority to have music.

But now, I miss my jazz albums. Hearing and singing along to old favorites like Ruby by Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, from his solo Nightfly album, "The Way It Is" by Mike(?) Hornsby, a Tuck & Patti selection, some George Howard solos... I used to have all that.

Now, I dont even have a stereo, because it wouldve been too much trouble to lug around.

I need my music back.

Yeah, thats another thing I need to do....
I got home, I was feeling a bit peckish - so I heated up some garlic pita bread.. quickly seared some eggs with grated parmesan, pepper, garlic and two slices of American cheese (not cheese food).

Mmm. Man. With some soy milk, that was excellent.

Looks like I am definitely weaning myself away from takeout.

While scanning for work..

Dear Candidate:

If you are not a greencard holder or US Citizen I
cannot help you. This is a very hard market at this
time. There are 500 candidates for every one
position. I do have some opportunities but the market
and demand is drying up.
I would like the opportunity
to be an added resource to your search for a new
position. I have no guarantees, only a hard work
ethic and a love for people as a whole. We have some
great opportunities but not everyone has the skills.
I would like to take a look at your resume so please
email it to me so I can see if I can help you out in
anyway I can. I mostly work with full time but I do
have consulting opportunities from time to time. Keep
in contact with me through time, I will eventually be
able to help you out if I cannot at this time. Please
forward a non text format of your resume.

Keep your chin up!

I showed it to Nancy, who deals with recruiters daily... who just went.. "Wow".


Rare to see something so honest. From a recruiter.

From my experiences this year, I knew it was bad, but.....
The running theme through the movie Risky Business...

"Sometimes in life, you have to say 'What the Fuck'..."

- Risky Business

The older I get, every time I see that flick, the more layers I see. I see more and more and understand what Marshall Brinkman, the writer and director, was trying to say about growing up.

The older you get, the more WTF moments you have and the more significant they become.

And the more you GET it.

I'll explain what this has to do with anything in a bit.
When I said it, she shot me a look.

Id never really seen that look before, and wasnt quite sure how to react.

It was a look of anger?sadness?indignation? No, but yes, but no. I didnt know what to call it.

What I said was "I dunno if I wanna go to The Bronx up where you are."

I didnt mean anything by it.

I had been in New York only a couple of months, and she had told me I could drop by her place anytime, I think this was for a do she was having.

And I said what I said.

And she shot me that look.

Now I know.

My friend.. probably ex-friend now.. said she didnt understand why I was picking on her.. making her an example.

I kept saying it wasnt about her. She hadnt done anything wrong. No one had.

It was about something greater.

Although, to be honest, it was indeed something she said jokingly and in passing that, in addition to things people had said during that time period, catalyzed into a "What the fuck" moment a day later.

I didnt even understand WHY I was writing that rant.. but it was powerful.

She said she wasnt really angry, but she was ... disappointed at me.


THAT'S the word that described that feeling I was having. A combination of hurt/indignation/sadness/anger. Disappointment.

That describes exactly the look I got four years ago.

I tried telling her that it really wasnt about her, and SHE didnt do anything wrong, really. NO, REALLY... but after awhile I got tired of it and stopped.

I didnt, and I dont wanna argue about it, because the feeling comes from something that made me tired.

I got tired of arguing because what I feel isnt so much indignation or anger.. and its not really about race.. but .. .
But it IS about how people treat people.

Its about the many pinpricks of disappointment when someone wont come to where you LIVE because.

Because they dont wanna go in a 'bad' neighborhood.

Because they dont have the time.

Because its too far.

Because they dont want to be mugged.

Because they dont feel like it.

Because. Because. Because.

Like everyone, Im guilty of it too.

I have ridden through the Bronx, once dropped someone off there, taken my niece to the Bronx Zoo once..

But have I really been there in 4 years? No.

Even though Ive been invited many, many, many times.

And why havent I gone?

Because. Because. Because.

I have used any and all of the above reasons.

Its not about race. Or, not just about race.

Here is the real 'because': The Bronx has a horrendous rep. EVERYONE in New York and beyond knows that. No one wants to live there.

Fuckin' Fort Apache: The Bronx.

I aint goin there. Nor seriously consider living there.

Wrong. Millions of people live there. Usually because they want to.

And thats why I got the look.

I pissed on where folk actually live, like its a lower place to be.

And for the folk, that reflected on them.

When I didnt want to go to Staten Island to visit Carol.. I got the look. When I declined to go to her halloween party, because I didnt wanna be stuck out in SI, she took it very personally.
She is STILL pissed about that.

When I didnt want to haul out to Washington Heights to visit LadyK and Rashid. I got the look.

In and of itself, saying "because, because, because" is not a crime. Nor is it morally wrong.

No one is doing ANYTHING wrong. (And people seem to miss those words even when I say it a million times. Yes, I mean you.)
There is nothing WRONG with saying "because, because, because".

In fact, the reasons are invariably valid.

The reasons are always valid not to go 'certain' parts of NY, Chicago, LA, Oakland, Miami... anyplace. Even when the people who live there assure you its a lot safer than you think. Because they live there.

Because, because, because.

No one can dispute them.

But say it enough times. Hear it enough times. And you get these little pinpricks of disappointment every time.

Eventually, after feeling that little "twinge" every time, but shoving it away because, maybe after a coupla years like I did, you get a "WTF" moment.

It aint just me.

A lot of folk are 'disappointed', having HAD their "WTF" moment.

So, when someone who lives in a 'ghetto' part of town, or out of the way, and you give them "because, because, because" when you say why you cant/wont go there.

And they shoot you the look.

"Because" theyve heard it a million times.

"Because" *they* know what real "because" is.

And they take it personally, even though -logically - they know there is no reason to.

Hopefully you'll understand.

Because, because, because.

Wednesday, May 16, 2001

JPennant: Now, today I gotta go eat shit for what I wrote yesterday
McClint: that's the risk of being a writer

Normally, I try to be considered and careful in what I write and say.

While still being direct.

You risk stepping on a million mines when you write in a public forum.

You hope folk understand where youre coming from, but sometimes it blows up.

Thinking back, did I take ALL due care and precautions? No.

Did I know what I was doing? Yes.

I said what I said, I did what I did and I said I was sorry to those I hurt.

Was I wrong? Definitely.

Specially in holding up as examples people who normally have no ill-intent toward others.

Not in their makeup.

Now.. I take responsibility for what I wrote. And I tried to modify what I wrote. And I didnt want to hurt anyone make them angry, or lose friendships.

But. That feeling that came over me wasnt random, accidental and meaningless. What I said expressed it.

I am not dreaming, nor am I misunderstanding people.

I meant what I said.

When I say something, it might come out the wrong way... and it may on occasion piss off and wound people.

But I mean what I say.

Someone said I pissed off people and said unfair things about them and others before.

Called it rude and unfair.

It may have been, but unfortunately - ESPCIALLY in reference to the people and circumstances in question, EVERYTHING I said was validated.
So I was right.

Sometimes its no fun being right.

But you have to be true.

So, if I gotta eat shit and deal. Fine.

Ive learned over the years.. if you mean it, you only say youre sorry once.

After that, you owe no-one any apologies.

Tuesday, May 15, 2001


bigY: Whew, on the hot seat today, huh?
JPennant: yar :-(
bigY: I wasn't surprised to see peeps getting bent over that...
JPennant: well, im taking down ***** thing in a bit
bigY: i can't imagine ***** would be too happy either...
JPennant: and take ***** name out of it
JPennant: She has a point about that.
JPennant: ***** didnt do anything
bigY: oh, i understand. i don't think people like to have assumptions made about them
bigY: no matter how much of it may be true
bigY: or not
JPennant: this is true.
bigY: heh-heh, did you see you horrorscope today?
JPennant: for whom?
bigY: Virgo
Tue May 15, 2001 by
The square between Sun and Uranus warns you to be careful about what you say about other people. If you are speaking about someone who is not present, act as if they are. What is your motivation for saying the things you want to say? Is it really necessary to speak in such a manner? A negative comment about someone else is going to resonate throughout the cosmos and will come right back at you. People will also lose their trust in you.

JPennant: Wow.
bigY: Hmm, shoulda read that before posting today... haha!
JPennant: Gahhr.
JPennant: Im putting THIS up. :-)
bigY: heh-heh.... ;-)
JPennant: Trust me to be in tune with the *$^$)#& universe *today*.
bigY: apparently... :-\
JPennant: ah well. guess it was gonner happen
bigY: yup, i guess you didn't have a chance 2day
JPennant: Weird. I bought four papers this morn.. and I didnt even read my horrorscope like I normally do...
JPennant: *poof*
bigY: it's funny, i don't really follow those things, but for some reason, when I read about your "troubles", I just instinctively went to check yours out...
JPennant: heheh. good instincts
JPennant: i was already actually editing stuff, but you kinda helped me to appreciate i was in the wrong.. righteous indignation or no.
JPennant: thanks :-)
bigY: your welcome!

bigY signed off at 7:56:59 PM.

Nancy was born and bred in and all over Brooklyn. She may live in the suburbs now, but she still thinks of herself as a Brooklyn Goil.

Plus, she always gives me her unvarnished opinon.

She is always fair.

JPennant: tell me your opinion on (previous entry).. Am I over-reacting?
Nancy: k
Nancy: are they from brooklyn?
JPennant: No.
JPennant: Even tho they live in Brooklyn.
Nancy: i am and parts of it are scary - but you don't know that until you've been thru them.
Look at what happened at the carnegie deli last week. That is mid-manhattan! tourist central... seconds from penthouse apts that overlook central park... that's scary...
JPennant: Im not saying parts of Brooklyn isnt...
JPennant: but..
JPennant: the place is smack dab in the middle of downtown brooklyn by fulton and flatbush
Nancy: well, I don't think I'd go there by myself at night... but i've been there before...
JPennant: hell, there are parts of her block that are just as scary at night
Nancy: can't push people to do something they don't want to...
JPennant: we both love jamaican meat patties
Nancy: did she think you were going there?
JPennant: sure.. the patty places ar on my way to my mom's house. no big woop.
JPennant: steps from the subway stations even
Nancy: i know - but she wouldn't venture there herself
JPennant: not even in broad daylight.
JPennant: Even tho areas of Chinatown or Willimsburg or Fort Greene.. are FAR more dangerous neighborhoods.
JPennant: Whats the difference?
Nancy: people have comfort factors and most are unwilling to venture past them.
JPennant: I understand that.
JPennant: but
JPennant: perception is not always reality.
Nancy: very true... but perceptions create those comfort factors... real or not...
JPennant: These are folk who would rather go to Costa Rica than go to past the 'safe' areas of Brooklyn.
Nancy: true
Nancy: perhpas you can take her next time so she can see
JPennant: Heh. I would seriously doubt that she'd go....
Nancy: have you offered?
JPennant: yep, i do believe i have.
Nancy: then it is her choice - and loss...
JPennant: If she isnt willing to go five blox from her house...
JPennant: These are folk who would rather traipse through Central Park at midnight, than go into Crown Heights.
Nancy: you're over-reacting.... its their choice...
JPennant: i dunno. i used to think it wasnt a big deal.. their fears were understandable...
JPennant: but after awhile... it grates. I didnt think it would but it does....
Nancy: not worth it...
JPennant: Around Park Slope and Prospect Park.. you are seeing signs saying "NO MAS Yuppies" and "Yuppie go home"
JPennant: Normally I would see that and think .. thats just a reaction to people coming in and pricing previous residents out.
JPennant: Now, I think its more...
Nancy: ?
Nancy: like?
JPennant: they are regarded as foreigners invading the space, who would rather have it be like manhattan instead of integrating WITH the people who are there.
JPennant: does that make sense?
Nancy: yes but i don't think that is entirely true. My grandmother was in prospect park residence by grand army plaza... while the apartments are expensive many of the little shops and restaurants haven't change - actually gotten a chance to better themselves. I think it is unrealistic to believe that people would not put their own influence into an area where they live. It happens both ways... good for bad and bad for good. My old neighborhood is turning Russian and Korean to reflect the people moving in there.
JPennant: I know.. stuff changes
JPennant: But I go to Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, Park Slope.. like anybody else
JPennant: Crown Heights is no worse.
JPennant: It all a part of Brooklyn to me, good or bad.
Nancy: me too.... if there is something I want I will go where I can get it... just mind my own business and keep my eyes and ears open...

Nancy: don't let it eat you - its really not worth it. Just hope one day people will learn better
JPennant: well, I started a little trubble anyways. Its usually quite effective :-D

Yeah, well.

Lets just say folk got pissed
Now. Let me STRONGLY emphasize, so that people dont misread this:
No one actually did anything wrong. Nor did anyone else.

Its not really ABOUT them. (Reread if youre not sure I mean that.)

I think people have the impression Ive always felt this way. Uh-uh.
It just kinda came over me. It seems that its only.. no, there are exceptions.. primarily black, hispanic or jewish folk would go into that neighborhood to even buy a patty or a loaf of bread.

These are MY feelings.

But after awhile, hearing - "I dont wanna go ' there' " .. and the place isnt near as dangerous as *anywhere* else in NY....

After a couple of years of hearing it, for some reason the refrain *bothers* me now.

People are wary of much of Brooklyn because they think its almost all black.

Let me say this for all my folk to hear:

Just because the majority of the people you see in an area are black, does NOT automatically make it a bad neighborhood.

In fact, if you walk around, you may see more 'white' folk than you think.

Perception is not always reality.

A friend hasnt gone much beyond her view of Brooklyn, because of what I state above.

The perception is, if it aint Manhattan, Queens, Bay Ridge, Willamsburg, Park Slope/Prospect Park/Cobble Hill, Ocean Parkway or Brooklyn Heights.... it's 'scary'.

Case in point:

She loves beef patties as much as yer average Caribbean folk.

If not more. :-)

I tell her there is a decent patty place a few city blox from her on Flatbush Avenue. Walking distance.

She has not gone. In nearly a year.

I tell her it is right outside the Nevins Street station.

She doesnt even know what train goes there.

Never mind that it is ONE (or two, depending on which train) stop away from her normal station that she hops off.

At this point, I have more than a sneaking suspicion that once I mention the term "Flatbush Avenue".. that is code for "mostly black folk".. and is therefore 'scary'.

Press her on it, and the excuse "I just dont have the time" will hang in the air.

Nevermind (and I stress this for folk who are not from New York) that it is less than a mile from her house. IN the neighborhood.

Now, Im not bashing her or anyone alse as being racist or bigoted. Theyre not. At all.
I wouldnt wanna know them if they were.

But it might give them an idea of why there are recent signs of "NO MAS Yuppies" or "Yuppie Go Home" graffiti'd around where they live.

They move to Brooklyn. They grow to like it, and yet act like most of Brooklyn is dirt.

Because too much of it is 'scary'.

Even tho much of Oz (Manhattan), where theyd rather live, is far scarier.

You dont need a passport to wander your own neighborhood, shit.

If you're gonna live somewhere.. LIVE there.

*sigh* This entry didnt start out as a rant.....

Monday, May 14, 2001

Doctor: "You wont catch him, he's too smart."

- ..We're pretty smart..
- ..I always thought I was..
- ... last time I looked..."

Deputy Gerrard: "Well, ok... he may be smart. Is he as smart as you?"
Doctor: "Smarter."

- The Fugitive

My fatal flaw is that I tend not to do things unless Im motivated.

As Debbi Kempton-Smith put it about about us Mars in Cancerians " ..their worst habit is they let opportunities go by because theyre not in the mood."

But I dont think Im worse than yer average bear.

Like this blogger thing. Its always been flaky, but like most people, we've learned to work around its quirks.
But its not conducive to actually getting stuff done if its not working, as it increasingly isnt, which is why the smart folk are abandoning blogger in droves as they look for more reliable alternatives.

For years, Ive always been interested in publishing solutions that blogger neatly addresses... but I figured someone else would do that.

The talented Noah Grey actually whipped up an elegant Perl Script and called it GreyMatter.. which is growing to be the preferred remote publishing tool of choice for the cognoscenti of the blogging world.

When we talked about doing this years ago, Eric and I thought of the parameters that became one of his tools.. Edgar ..which he uses for publishing to the Intranet at work.

Eric and I looked at the source code of GreyMatter.
Nice.. but we thought we could make that industrial strength.

Something that combined the power of Vignette StoryServer (without the price and consultants), with the ease of use of Diaryland, with the features of blogger.

I always thought I was pretty smart, and if this isnt an opportunity to actually learn something the hard way,I dunno what would be.

I was just never really interested to strain brain cells on doing actual programming..

Not in the mood to ferk wit all that.

But my growing irritation at the flakiness, unreliability and growing unsuitability to cross-platform publishing that blogger has become.. is prodding me to do something home-brewed for my current and future needs.

Out of tragedy, often comes opportunity. And Im in the mood.

Sunday, May 13, 2001


Nothing much.

I was gonna do laundry this weekend... I mean, I am...

I was damned tired yesterday... tisha didnt try to wake me up, judging by my long bouts of silence. God bless her.

I got coffee. The ...what's the word.. novelty.. of buying my coffee from a decent bakery only a block away is wearing off.

Their shit isnt all that great, even tho the famous sicilian wariness to strangers is wearing off and Im getting a 'hello-ah honay' when I walk through their doors now.

Plus, they were out of half-and-half the last few days. Shit, thas prolly the primary reason I get coffee from there.

Think I'll buy my own creamer.

If I didnt make such shitty coffee, Id have my own coffee maker. (Trust me.. Jack Soo on Barney Miller made better swill on his worst days than I ever will..)

Got the sunday papers... havent read them yet. Thank god Ive shaken the urge to buy the Sunday Times. So expensive, and I rarely read 'em. Hurts to have to throw out that big bundle unread, still in its bag usually.

I did pick up a copy of TimeOut New York. Because it was "The Apartment Special". I bought it cuz of the "Supersize It! How to maximize your tiny kitchen" teaser. I wanted to pick up tips on how to maximize my tiny kitchen.

Thats been on my mind a lot lately.

*sigh* Shitty.. wait.. no.. it wasnt a shitty article.. it just didnt really help.
It wanted me to shop at Zabars, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Lechters...

Nah, well maybe Lechters. Id like to check out what they have, seems like they have interesting schtuff.

Sun wants a picture of this place....heh... she must be bored. :-)

I play the radio 24-7 as the TV's the guy left are shot. I leave it on Bloomberg.

This is why I know Perry Como died.. and why I couldnt remember the name of any other song today. They kept playing "Poppa loves Mambo" during the newscast announcing his death.

I STILL cant remember the name of that Onyx song that I play when I feel like headbanging....

Man, I must be alcoholic. I want a beer.

I just had some alcohol.. one.. two.. two days ago.

I'll have some leftover risotta and baked chicken I made last night...

Ok. Now Im typing in the dark.

JPennant: <--typing in the dark.... risotta and parmesan to the side
tisha: what?!
tisha: why in the dark?
JPennant: it got dark
tisha: oh okie

Too lazy to get up and switch on the light.

Ooof. This futon is killing my back.

I should move the mattress in here and move the futon to the living room.

Ugh. I dont have any queen sized sheets for the mattress yet.

And moving everything around sounds suspiciously like work.

On a SUNDAY this guy is practicing guitar in the club downstairs?

I wouldnt mind.. if he were good.


I should stretch.

But that seems suspiciously like work.

Laundry isnt gonna get done tonight.

I was gonna go into a speech about how I dont care and try not to care so I can deal with how people are.

Thatsa crock o' shit.

I do care.

I try not to because I will get hurt if I stay connected.

I have to stay detached, rationalize logically so I can think the hurt away..

Ive become pretty good at it too.

That attribute does come in handy as an observer.

Maybe thats the flip-side of a god-given gift.

But, it feels like Ive given up on feeling like I can feel free to care.

Maybe soon.