Saturday, September 15, 2001

“Brother, if you don’t mind, there is a cloud of glass coming at us, grab my hand, lets get the hell out of here.”

Try to look in the heart, before you spit on it.

Headed home from Brooklyn.

I slept good last night, staying overnight at Ma's instead of going straight home. She insisted when she saw I was dead on my feet, having not slept much since Thursday.

Im still having trouble offloading images off the camera, having to use the slow archaic way with cables - as my laptop and memory card readers are still locked up at the Cappy's house until she gets back from Pennsylvania. Oy.

That necessitated having to trek to Brooklyn, to cadge time on a borrowed computer, sit back and wait hours while the old program traverses directly through the camera, a process that takes several hours as it tries to read several hundred images at once.

The card reader does it in minutes.

Waste of @^$#% time.

And when (not if, when..) Windows ME crashes, I have to start the process all over again. Gah.

So, there are several days of images waiting to be offloaded, keeping me from being out and about.

Tools, I need tools.
Contrary to expectations, the roads and tunnels are usually crowded on weekends as New Yorkers take the chance to shop and take care of business... and relax.

This morning, the crowds on the streets and tunnels were light.

With the rerouted trains and whatnot, I think folk are avoiding un-necessary travel....


I can see New York returning to normalcy in small but heartwarming ways...

I heard a horn honk to move a straggler at a light along.

There was a "MOVE!!" directed at someone walking in a walkway.

Still, its not back to normal until I hear that change to a reassuring "Get outta the fuckin' road, you fuckin' retard!!". "Yeah? Fuckoff, shithead.."

Then I'll know we're back to our old selves...
Other random memories.....


Friday, September 14, 2001

Candid photo... gah

photo by Mike Mcnamara

Exchange Place Waterfront Pier
Jersey City, NJ

Me and the famed (award-winning) Jennifer Brown of the Star-Ledger as we were talking that morning.

People used to look at the picture I would take of the Katyn Forest Massacre memorial on the Jersey City waterfront, some saying it was far too ugly and disquieting.

But, for some reason, I was drawn to it over and over again, particularly as it was set against the scenic backdrop of the Towers.

I had to snap a photograph of it almost everytime I rushed to the PATH station there.

Im not sure, but I think it was meant to use the New York skyline as a counterpoint.

Now, there is no counterpoint..

except perhaps for this...

Its quite appropos now.
Random memories....

JPennant: <-- just wants to get back to worrying about women and money
bleakchic: LOL
JPennant: well, no - not really.. but ya know what I mean. :-)
bleakchic: hehehe

Gabz: glad to see you up and about. *whew* you gave me a heart attack.
Gabz: mr. wanderlust...searching for the perfect picture.

Heh. I am very glad that folk care. :-)

Searching for the perfect picture? Nah. Pictures happen. Wherever you happen to be.
Tito: I KNOW you. If you hadnt left the city, you woulda been down there..."

Plus, as BigBro put it when he heard I had wandered out of New York in time and then slept through it..

"The gods said 'GET yo' ass home, and put yourself to bed!!"


Warm fuzzies to all who've worried about my silly butt.. :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Because I have no internet access, difficulty getting to Brooklyn or ways to conveniently offload my pictures... It'll be awhile before I can post any pictures.
I came up behind them as the waited to cross the street to the Bayonne library. A group of 6 women and a man.

The women all had their heads covered in traditional muslim style.

You could tell the younger ones werent at all used to wearing the traditional head-covering regularly.

A determined point was being made.

They were defiant as they crossed road, smiling and laughing, ignoring the honking horns, the hard stares and the loud comments coming from the cars.

On one hand, you had to admire their pride, to show the world they had nothing to be ashamed of who they are.

On the other hand - I noted their avoidance of common sense over pride. Wandering around and trying to make a point in a conservative, blue collar town - where the sons and daughters automatically go into the armed services and many townfolk are related to people who died.

There have been reports of people celebrating - in the New York area - the fall of the towers. In the New York area.

And in this atmosphere - they were trying to make a point.

Didnt these folk realize it is beyond foolhardy to 'make a point' when people are looking for ANY indication of disrespect?

I made it a point to hang back from them.

Common sense.
I showed the sicilian ladies my pictures from yesterday.

It is a picture of the Katyn Forest memorial in Exchange Place, with the smoking hole right behind it.

In New York nowadays, that smoking hole is not so affectionately referred to as "The Pit".

"When you make this one into a poster, I want copies. Ok?"

When I can make it happen, and can afford to - I will.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

I got up early today to go to the waterfont to catch the sunrise over New York.

Im still taking pictures.

Im about to head back out.
NJ Transit Light Rail, 34th Street Station Bayonne, NJ:

Voice of NJ Transit dispatcher.. ".. there is only
service from Newark to Journal Square and Grove
Street to 33rd Street in Manhattan. The PATH trains
will not be stopping at 9th, Christopher or 23rd
Voice on the radio: "What about to the World
Trade Center?"
Long pause....
"There is no World Trade Center."

Conversations with Jersey City cops on duty at the Exchange Place Plaza by the waterfront:

- "My wife works on the 80th floor of the WTC. I had gotten in late and went to bed. I woke up late and she was right beside me. She said she had decided to take the day off."

- "Afterward, we got a call from the super at 12801 Kennedy Boulevard, right above all those Arab delis, you know?
Apparently there was a whole group up there watching the building go down and CELEBRATING. Jesus Christ.
The superintendent of the building said it sounded like they were having a fuckin' party.
About fifteen of us responded, but by the time we got there they were all gone.

I tell you what, its a good thing they disappeared, because, not for nuthin'.. some of those guys had their night-sticks already out.
Man, some of those guys were RAGING.
I kinda hung back. I was prepared to have an 'ankle injury', if you know what I mean.

I didnt want to be anywhere near what was gonna happen."

- "Oh, you mean what happened at 12801 Kennedy? Well, we dont know if they were actually celebrating on the rooftop. From what we were told, they were only up there watching what was happening.
We really dont know if they were up there celebrating."
Things the cops were talking about, largely unsubstantiated at that time. We were discussing how there seemed to be quite a clampdown on news coming out of the scene.

Again, most of this had not been confirmed at time of writing.

- They were in contact with people underneath the rubble by cell phones. ( turned out to be true.)

- Somene had tossed explosives into two NYPD police cars somewhere uptown.
One car was so burnt, and the body of the officers so charred, that they identified them only by the firearms.

- A man had rushed up to officers at post on one of the bridges screaming "Help Me, Help Me" to get them to come rushing to his assistance. Before he could get close, he was shot in the head.
They found explosives strapped his body.

- The plane that had crashed in Pennsylvania was actually forced down by Air Force jets before it could get close to Camp David.

- When the plane crashed into the Pentagon, essential personnel were rushed into the bunkers and situation rooms, and were issued automatic weapons as sidearms.

- More than 4 jets had been hijacked, no matter what the news said.

- There was a PATH train trapped in the tunnel underneath the river. They couldnt get to them, because the tunnel at the deepest point was under too much water, either coming from the river or from all the water being poured on the building remnants. They would have to wait until the Port Authority scuba team could get down there.

The last was later substantiated as were soon shooed out of
Exchange Place, and rescue teams as well as Bomb Squad
vans were put in place.

They gave up after a few hours. There was nothing they could
Although this will probably be an over-used cliche by now..

Most people are in shock.

Although Ive noticed around the scene, people were actually
talking to each other, introducing themselves, swapping

But still in shock as the fighter jets and helicopters rumble

Please give to the Red Cross.

Particularly the NY/NJ chapters. They were about to run out of money this year.

They need it.

Posted from the library....

Thanx to all who were worried and were checking up.
Im fine, guys. So is my family, and I believe so are most of my friends.

I had intended to stay in Manhattan @the Internet Cafe till morning break after being in Brooklyn all monday evening and night, but at Tuesday morn, 2:30 am - I decided to gather my things and get out of New York.

Funny thing, I had only intended to walk out for a coffee - but as I kept thinking about it, something in my mind said "Go Home". Firmly.

So I took the last bus out of New York at 4am. I fell asleep at 5am and woke up at 10:30 to the sound of helicopters hovering overhead..

At 11 am, the sicilian ladies told me the news when I went to get my coffee.

Life, for all of us - wont be the same again.
I kept thinking back to Tisha's musing posted at around midnight the day before as I looked at the plume of black smoke visible over the skyline.

Now we know why she cried.

Bayonne was locked down, and the Cappy was still in shock and tears at seeing first hand the second plane slam into the building and the buildings then collapsing.

She refused to let us turn the channel to the News and kept it on Nickolodeon for her kids sake.

They were blissfully unaware.

Everyone who had quit smoking started smoking again. They had all seen everything first hand from the Jersey shore. They didnt need to see the news.

She called her husband to come for her and the kids after she had rushed back to get them out of school, and we spent turns on the phone for hours trying to navigate him into town. Difficult with the highways and bridges shut down. He got in several hours later.

And then the helicopters were ordered out of the air, and the only things we heard all day were sirens, unmuffled F-16's flying combat air patrol overhead and med-evac copters flying in people to the hospitals.

The birds, normally cacophonic.. were eerily silent, the Cappy commented.

Only after her husband got in, and they were all tucked in to sleep did me and the Cappy go look at the carnage firsthand, and since the roads and bridges leading out of Bayonne and New Jersey were still locked down.. we went to the Jersey City terminal to see.

I dissuaded her from going by the local afterschool program to see if there were still kids waiting for their parents. She really didnt need to see that.

The thick black smoke rising all the way up to the stratosphere and the red glow of the fires were silhoutted against Lady Liberty. With Wall Street still in darkness, contrasting to the rest of Manhattan..

Unfortunately, it was heartbreakingly beautiful. With a big smoking hole in the middle of the skyline.

Heading back, we noted the commuter train parking lot, normally empty at night - was still full of cars.

I wondered if George and Ankita got in safely (he did) and if Kate and other folk I know who work in the Wall Street area got out.

I knew Ma was home ok, because her phone was busy all night.

I think Im fine.

I wish we all were.

Monday, September 10, 2001

More ear-bleeding guitar and drums madness...

I Got The Six
If I Could Flag Her Down
-ZZ Top

I like this Texas group's Speed Blues style, but I can only recommend one of their albums.
Two wild guitars and a demonic yet tight drummer.
Holds up hard even 15 years later.

Keeps me awake at the Internet Cafe....
Youre not here to learn subjects.
Shit, youre gonna forget ninety percent of what you learn here.
What youre here for is to learn how to learn.
- College advisor

Actually, Ive forgotten about 95 percent...

I tell that story often, but he was right. Ive had to do FAR more studying since Ive left school than when I was a student.

Frinstance, Ive been doing some hevvy dooty reading this past week.

When I become wealthy, I will be donating large sums to our nations Public Libraries in gratitude. (Hear that, Em?)

Although I might stipulate that a very healthy portion of those funds go for 'medication' for the remarkably surly librarians Im seeing lately.
("That book would be in the Joe Pennant Business, Arts and Take A Toke section. I'll come with you..")

So, Ive been taking the chance to learn much on design, print and RDBMS site publishing.

I used to think you had to know how to draw to do graphic design.

Im finding out, although that HELPS.. no.

(Hear that, bleak? :-)

So, currently Im reading

- Looking Good In Print
- Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing
(Phil is a professor at MIT and Alex is his dog. The title is misleading as its more a thick philosophy book on doing database-based web publishing based on common sense and experience. A meaty, yet surprisingly breezy read.)
- Robin Williams Design Workshop
(Jeez, Ive already made this book dog-eared, and Ive only had it 2 days. No, not Robin Williams the comedian - but the author of The Mac is not a typewriter. She shows all the shit Ive been WISHING I could do. Its a frikkin design degree in one book. Im picking up her "The Non-Designer's Design Book" based on this book and the overwhelmingly positive readers feedback. Shit, and I cant even find it used.)

And Ive got more waiting on typography, printing and proofreading......

Funny how long its taken for me to get around to doing what Ive always wanted to do.
NY Scam #3334567.36

How to cheat the Times Square Internet Cafe

Tell me if youve heard this joke before.. A Hungarian, Lebanese and a Jamaican are sitting in an Internet Cafe....

Here is what I just learned from the Lebanese cab driver and Hungarian Waiter.

The 24 hour pass (6 bux), allows you to use their computers for 24 hours, no limits. Otherwise you pay 1 buck for 24 minutes to 2 hours depending on the time and how many people are logged on.

Ok, until they clock onto this.. itsa secret: Its not 24 hours.. its 28 DAYS.

They just introduced the 24 hour and 30 day pass, but havent locked in the rules yet.

Of course they check the tickets randomly, but usually not that closely.

New Yorkers love to get over.

Another Itinerant in NY tip....

Sunday, September 09, 2001

On the headphones.. cuz Im in the mood for nasty guitars and sharp drum work..

Sultans of Swing
Money for Nothing
- Dire Straits

Sharp Dressed Man
TV Dinner
Gimme All Your Lovin'
- ZZ Top

<-- Madd air-guitar action
Anna vs The Lotus-Eaters

Whoo!! I havent seen her THIS riled up ... Apparently she doesnt take kindly to folk pissing..*cough*.. on her beloved New York.

Among the choicer eloquent, impassioned bon mots:
..when people start dissing my beloved NYC without knowing WHAT THE FUCK they're talking about..

..anyone who's ever even set foot on any borough of New York would attest to the fact that it's dirty. From the streets to the subways to very air you breathe, it's a gross revelation of what happens when you get too many people in a very small area...

And unless somebody's willing to start the Trash/Piss Police, it's going to stay the same way for a long time.

Makes you wonder why people would even want to come to New York right? EXACTLY. Why would people waste their lovingly earned moolah to go to a city infamous for its crime and its grime. After all, there are a lot nicer places to visit in the U.S., e.g. the Bay Area, Maine, Florida, etc, etc, blah blah...

you wanna know why people still want to come here? BECAUSE THIS IS THE FUCKING CENTER OF THE WORLD, that's why.

And I say that with the utmost confidence and assurance that I am right. And it's not just because I live here.

...Ya see that Lady with the Torch on that island? She's fucking sayin' "COME ON IN." Doesn't matter if you're a dotbomb multimillionaire or an immigrant with barely functional knowledge of English, if you've got what it takes to be a New Yorker, then that's what you are. And being a New Yorker means loving this city with the unabashed, undiscriminating acceptance that it has accepted you.

And anyone who thinks that New York is the Pissbucket of the World is a *#^%...

We will now turn down the volume so as to not to hurt the feelings of my dear Cali folk *cough*lotuseaters*.....

Hee hee. :-)

ALL Im gonna say to that is what I say all the time.

Take a deep breath in New York at your own risk.
Brian da man.

Here he is taking the time to proudly model an Itinerant t-shirt. OO-rah. :-)

THANK you B and everyone else who has picked up an item from The Itinerant Store..

Suggestions as to what would be other cool Itinerant things are always welcome.

And remember B, being Itinerant is a state of mind, not a state of being. :-)

Or mebbe its the other way around.

Dateline: Times Square Internet Cafe

The only luxury I allow myself nowadays is eaing out for Cuban food.

I did before I headed outta Jersey last nite...

Heheh. I decided to share.. :-)

JPennant: had some cuban before I got here.
NewYorkSun: im green!
NewYorkSun: what restaurant?
JPennant: hard grove
NewYorkSun: where at?
JPennant: corner of Newark and Grove Streets in JC, NJ
JPennant: EZ to get to. Grab the 33rd St PATH and get out at the Grove Street station. Hang a left off the escalators and its right across the street. Cant miss.
NewYorkSun: need to try some some time soon
JPennant: well, to make ya drool
NewYorkSun: argh!
JPennant: Heheh. I had
JPennant: Garlic Chicken (baked, seasoned, fresh buttery garlic on top)
JPennant: Yellow Rice
JPennant: Red Beans to put on top of said rice
JPennant: (the read beans stew there is intense)
NewYorkSun: nummy!!!
JPennant: and the portions are large :-)
JPennant: then
JPennant: cheesecake
JPennant: w/cafe un leche
NewYorkSun: man, i haven't gone out to eat at a good place for awhile
JPennant: oh, and sweet plantains, hadda have that.. :-)
NewYorkSun: cubans make cheesecake?
JPennant: these do :-)
JPennant: I splurgesed :-)
NewYorkSun: im jealous
JPennant: Heheh. life aint ALL bad on this side o the river :-)

It was funny, I was seeing New Yorkers in the restaurant riding back with me. Wow. Reverse Bridge and Tunnelers. :-)

Yeah, Im not much for mall food courts and overdone thai places.. I want simple and good.

And cheap.

Before I leave Jersey, I want to try out all the good stuff, sans all the attitude and attitudinal prices.

As Sun said.. nummy. :-)
The Cappy is worried about what will happen to me in the near future.

Im not as concerned as she is, even tho there is much to be concerned about...

She's not the only one concerned:
mars: so what happened to the old business plan?
JPennant: hasnt gone away
mars: oh. okay. cool =) hehe
JPennant: just 're-prioritized'
JPennant: lack of cash makes ya focus on what can be done
mars: yar, i definitely know that
JPennant: the other day, I was two numbers and the rest all over from winning 115 million :-)
mars: haha
mars: wish they had a lotto here.
JPennant: eh, its a stupidity tax
JPennant: anyways, I got two numbers and the rest were all one number UNDER the actual numbers.
JPennant: before I checked the numbers, I was almost sure I won SOMETHING
mars: poor joe..maybe next time?
JPennant: nah, It wouldve been nice is all. :-)
mars: so even with the 2 you didn't get anything?
JPennant: Nah, its gotta be three and above
mars: doh
JPennant: yup
JPennant:I found myself worrying that I would lose all that Ive gained in this experience if I got money before it was time.
JPennant: God has a sense of humor
JPennant: scared me a bit there. :-)
mars: sure does
mars: funny. most people would've been almost giddy. not scared
JPennant: Hey, Ive fought long and hard to be where I am now
JPennant: if I had money, I would surely abandon my dreams for the 'easy life'
mars: and you wouldn't like an easy way out?
JPennant: sure I would
JPennant: thats whats scary
mars: you are a courageous soldier ;p
JPennant: nahhh, has nuttin to do wit courage
JPennant: Its just too damned easy to get distracted from yer dreams.
mars: very true
JPennant: Ive given up a lot for this. so, I gotta fight for the path Ive chosen, even tho the poverty suzx
mars: keep on fightin joe...wish i could help a little
JPennant: heh. buy a t-shirt and model it for me. :-) I want to put up pictures of my web friends wearing them ..
mars: that would be cute
mars: haha ok...when a get a little more funds. defintiely
JPennant: much appreciated hon. :-)
JPennant: I would prolly crop the heads So that its just the body and the shirts or bags or hats
mars: haaha headless models
JPennant: hee hee. :-)

When bad shit happens the initial reaction is to panic.

After awhile, even though you worry just as much.. you start treating it all differently.

You learn how to deal.

Then it even starts becoming kinda fun. :-)

The Cappy the other day said..

"You inspire me."
Me: *wrinkle nose in puzzlement* "Why?"
"Youre like the poster child for living life day to day."

That had me rollin. THAT was funny. :-)
Mmmm.. signs

Enjoy, Clint. :-)

I caught the Finals match at the Cuban place. Man, the girls were workin it.
Overheard while eating at the Cuban Place.

(Background: The County Executive of Hudson County, New Jersey - Robert Janiziewski - has tendered his resignation as it became public that he agreed to tell all to the FBI AND wear a wire... If you understand politics - or have read Mike Royko's 'Boss" - a County Executive in any large urban area weilds a LOT of power and influence. An incredible amount, because they know where the money leads and where all the skeletons are hiding...)

Waitress to the owner of the restaurant: So your friend Janiziewski is a Rat, huh?
The old lady suddenly turns from garrulous to tight lipped.
Waitress: Yeah, he was your friend right? I heard he was wearing a wire.
Old Lady: Nothings gonna happen
Waitress A lot of people are making plans to go visit the old countries Im hearing. *cackle*

Man, for a second there, I thought I was back in Chicago listening to the old Machine Politics..

But Jersey is a LOT like Chicago.