Saturday, November 29, 2003

Canadians ARE nice.

I know this
first hand having visited the place and gotten to know a few folks.

Thanks Poo and Marn. :-)
High on tryptophan

I had a good Thanksgiving, still groggy on the tryptophan overload *urp*.

It aint New York, but Berkeley doesnt feel unfriendly. Its a good place to be, the cold notwithstanding.

I ate VERY well.

I partook of the Turkey Meals. I partook of the private meals. And before I went to sleep I partook of the meal served before I went to bed.

Oh! And there were people who were giving out meals to people just sitting outside.

Me, sitting on a bench very late in the eve, reading the NY Times (ok, fine - I read the paper version too.. Just cuz I cant get the NY Post here), digesting *one, two, three..* three full Thanksgiving meals, and a group rolled up in very shiny Escalades (a church group), handing out meals to the homeless.

"Are you homeless?"
"No, Im fine, thanks."
"Well, heres a meal anyway brother. Happy Thanksgiving."

I didnt eat it, cuz I had no need.

I was headed for my fourth thanksgiving dinnah.

America is awash in cooked turkey.

One guy I was talking to yesterday - who a year ago was himself giving out Thanksgiving meals to the homeless - said he knew a guy who remarked "Ive been homeless for over 2 years. In Oakland, Ive had to travel all over to get a meal. In Berkeley, Ive not gone hungry for one day."

Its true.

I honestly have eaten far better "residentially challenged" in Berkeley (aint everybody?) than I have in years PAYING for food.

Ive been served by world-famous chefs and not-so famous folks who crank out eye-boggling feasts regularly.


Every day I shake my head in Berkeley. :-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

No parades here

Almost every
thanksgiving since about 1985, I would find a way to Ma's house in NY, no matter where in the country I was.

There was a year or two tho, that I couldnt afford to get to Mom's house.

One year in Jacksonville, was probably the lousiest one. I was stuck in town.
Without getting into details, it sucked.

I wouldnt mind being in NY right now. Dinner at Ma's place, then the after Thanksgiving sales.
(Although I hate shopping, and hate being dragged around unwillingly through the shopping experience, I appreciate now how Ma liked having me with her while she did her favorite thing, no matter how much I whined and complained. It was a special time for her too.)

Traipsing around 34th Street/Penn Station shopping at Conways and Macy's and the little stores that Ma knew the back ways into was always an experience.

New York truly comes alive when mass shopping is in the air.

This year, Im in California.

I'll be offline for the holidays.

I'm stuck here.

I'll be around folk, be at several homes, be well fed.. but it aint the same.

Im sorta dreading it, actually.
On the holidays I wanted to be alone..

I'd check the tires, hoses (REAL anal about 'em after duct tape and river water saved me), fluids and adjustments, throw a duffel bag or two into the back and disappear to another state.

Engine singing, Id be gone.

Actually no, many of those were my marathon hauls (by myself) across the country to Ma's house.

Another part of my life I want back.
Its funny, in all the times I never actually went to a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Cuz well, it would always be chilly and windy and nasty.

Brr, hail no.

I should go one year.

Random ol' thanksgiving time memories

Lunch at Tim the Photographer's place

At V's place (the Cappy)

One of the Sicilian Ladies at the Bayonne Pride bakery.

They took care of me.

Corner of Seventh Avenue and 34th Street.

The magic shopping corner. The shopping energy here is incredible. :-)

The hot giant pretzels.

In the crisp air, a little mustard, ah yeah.

At Kate's place

Rashid clowning

Tracy :-)

Upper West Side on Broadway, 96th street

A quiet coffee.

"Did I do right?"

My aunty Teri-Lei (my hawai'ian connection here in Oakland), after I welcomed her back from seeing fam in the islands and Vegas..

"WHAT? Boy! Hello?? That was Happy Christmas Merry Birthday! That was GOD looking out for you!"

Teri, bely-ing her sweet, prissy appearance is EXTREMELY pragmatic and streetwise. And a Scorpio. Do not wanna fuck wit her. Really. (Scorp friends are sweet and scary at the same time...)

Anyhoo, she continued

"Hello? GOD was answering your prayers! He KNOWS you need the cash to get your stuff done. THIS was him taking care of you!"

"Yeah. It could very well have been."

"He got around to you cuz he was busy in Iraq. You shoulda kept it."

"Ok, ok.. let me ask someone else... Judy, whatya think.."

Judy, sweet, kind, Berkeleyite from way back, waited as I related this..

"I HOPE you didnt leave it there. I TRULY hope you didnt walk away from it."

"No. I took it.."

"GOOD. That was a godsend for you."

"I decided to get it to the owner."

"Oh, it had the address label on it?"


"Did you get a reward?"

"Nuh uh."

"Oh my god.."

"Well, I didnt ask for money.. I asked him to give me a call if he needed a tech.."

"Oh, well good. Well, it coulda helped you a lot to keep it, but you did the right thing."

"See, Teri?"

"Yeah, well. If God gives you another Merry Birthday Happy Christmas gift like this.. KEEP it next time."

"I'll think about it. :-)"

"You'd better."


At least she looks out for me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The day after

You may be tempted to tell a little white lie today, but you are strongly advised not to. Even if you are avoiding the truth for the best of reasons - such as you don't want to hurt another person's feelings - it will rebound on you, and them, later on.

Honesty is always the best policy, not to mention the easiest.

I swear, thats what it said.
A letter from the manager of the computer store
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2003 18:07:04 -0800
From: "Albert Ho" < >
To: "Joe Pennant" < >
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.552)

Hi Joe,

Thank you again for your effort today. You probably saved that UPS
guy's job. It's such an oversight to leave packages on the road.

I will keep you in mind.

Albert Ho

"Apart from deciding to wait for the UPS driver to come back looking for it, I hadnt decided what I was gonna do."

"Yes you did."

"No, I didnt. I hadnt decided yet."

"Yes you did. If you didnt immediately say to the guy 'Yeah, bring your car around' you had already decided to contact somebody along the line, UPS or the addressee."

"Nah, I hadnt decided that at that point."

"Look, if you didnt immediately go for it - you'd already decided to give it up."

"I hadnt decided yet. I kept my alternatives open until the last minute."

"Nah, you already were gonna do what you did."

"Nuh uh."

The conversation went on like this for a bit. :-/

Monday, November 24, 2003

The Right Temptation

"I'll bring my car around, you can take it and sell it later."
"Nah, thats not my style. "
"What are you gonna do?"
"Im gonna wait here for a bit, see if anyone comes looking for it, if not.. well..."


"Ok, Ive decided what Im gonna do."
"What? Nah, I already know."
"What do you think Im already gonna do?"

"You are going to sell it."
"Give it to UPS for a reward.."
"No, hell no.. Im getting no reward from them."
"Hm. "

"Its a machine addressed to the most prominent Mac shop in Berkeley. Im gonna take it back, give it to the manager, and see if they need a qualified tech on call for the holidays."

"He gave you a compliment, at least. He said bringing it to them showed a lot of character."

"Yeah. But man, that machine wouldve covered all my business inventory costs. Every last cent. Or I couldve simply bought all the equipemnt I needed. Cameras, printers, etc."

"Yeah, you did the right thing, Joe."

"Oh yeah? What would YOU have done?"

"HA!! I woulda picked it up from where UPS left it out on top of that garbage can in front of the Library and SOLD that mother."

"Heh. Well, what if I told you how much that thing is worth?"

"How much?"

"About 3500 bux."


"Yup. Now, tell me again.. did I do the right thing?"

A Dual 2 Ghz G5 Macintosh computer was left in front of the Berkeley Public Library. It looked like it was left out for trash, but I had seen the UPS drivers pull up.

As configured, you can buy a replica from Apple for $4,174

I returned it to the addressee on packing slip, MAC computers in Berkeley, where we saw the UPS driver who had no clue it was missing.

Or so he said. I personally think he was lying and embarrassed.

The owner of the place said I can use him as a character reference anytime. I sent him my resume.

I couldve sold it for 2500 bux easily on craigslist.

This wouldve taken care of all my funding or equipment needs easily.


Did I play myself for a sucker?

Or did I do the right thing?

Meet Joe Carnegie

In my will
, there will be endowments for libraries.

The times I am broke with limited online access, the silver lining is that I hang at the library more often, and inevitably read far more than I usually would.

Back in Bayonne, I loaded up on Art, Design and Business books. This time, the focus is both narrow and eclectic.

At one time, I would keep track of all the books I read, but thats futile, as Im a book 'skimmer', going through titles in waves.

In my bookbag right now, on loan from the Berkeley Public Library:

Race Mixing by Renee Romano and Creative Computer Tools for Artists.

I also still have Kerouac's On The Road, itself semi-autobiographical, grabbing dog ears in the backpack, but I rarely read fiction.

See, the shit I read has to be relevant, even tangentially. Plus, Ive read enough bad fiction that I regard most titles as a cop would a drunken suspect.

So, yes - theyre all relevant.

No, I wont answer all questions. :-)
Still trying to psyche myself up.

Today's horrorscope:
You seem to have everything you need except one little ingredient: self-confidence. Make it your aim to find out why you don't trust yourself to do the right thing.

Is it because you have done the wrong thing so many times in the past? Or is it because what you are aiming for is so high above you? Either way, it's irrelevant. You've got what it takes.

Someone said that my main fear is that subconsciously I dont think Im deserving of what I want and may just punk out because I dont believe it will actually happen.

No, I wont accept that.
Don't let it worry you if you appear to be working harder than ever with nothing to show for it.

It may seem that way now, but in the not too distant future, you will look back and realize that this was the time when you made the most progress, only it's the kind of progress that can be difficult to see.

Don't lose heart. You're doing fine.