Saturday, February 07, 2004

Liking companionship, desiring solitude, dealing with the high cost of cake.

Today's horrorscope
There are times when you want nothing more than to be left alone with your thoughts, and this is one of them. Don't worry that family and friends think you are being antisocial if you don't make an effort to talk to them - if they don't know your ways by now, they never will.

Be true to yourself - it's the most important thing you can do.

Big developments are afoot which is why you need to take them one step at a time.

You're better prepared than you know for what comes next.

It used to be that being self-contained was enough.

I could deal with individuals and society at my leisure and pace, confident that I could always detach.

Then I realized belatedly that way of life was... inadequate.

Now, learning how to be sociable, while still being able to detach at will.

Hard to do in this town, Im finding.

Very hard to be social while keeping that sense of space.

Or, Im not used to it.

There is a Plains Indian prayer that goes along the lines of:
"Teach us to care, and not to care."

So, Im learning a new way to be.

Sorta like getting the cake you want, but having to learn how to eat it.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Ongoing revisions

"No, the girls from En Vogue went to Oakland High School with my daughter. Theyre all from Oakland. They still talk to each other to this day."

"Tupac was born in Baltimore. But his momma came out here to be with his daddy, who is a Black Panther, so they lived in Marin City then all around West Oakland."

"Joan Baez? She's from San Rafael. She came to Berkeley because of at the time, this was the place of activism and all that..."

"The Doobie Brothers? From San Jose? Nooo, from San MATEO. I used to go listen to them play there all the time. They also hung out in a lot in Sausalito.."

"Sylvester wasnt from Oakland. He's from Alameda. So were his friends from Two Tons of Fun."

"Sheila E. and Pete Escovido are from North Oakland."

"Metallica? From Berkeley?? Hell no. Theyre from San Jose."

"Digital Underground? From Berkeley. Well, on the border of Oakland and Berkeley. When Tupac was with them, they were in Berkeley."

"Green Day from Vallejo? From Berkeley? Nuh-uh. North Oakland."

There is a point to this nonsense. In fact, Im getting a lot of:

"Thats a *great* idea. Im suprised no one else is doing this."

So am I.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

A Dragon's Tale

Dragon male:

While not an egoist, he is unmistakably an egotist in every sense of the term.

It is impossible for him to resign himself to taking a backseat or being second to anyone in any field, for he has an excessively high opinion of his own talents.

I try not to copy or emulate other people's techniques when taking pictures.

As much as I might admire the works of others, I assiduously try to never ever seem as if I am following the style of others.

I dont study photo books, the techniques of the masters.. nunna dat.

Thas just how I do.

My own thing.

But I will admit to this:

Noah Grey is a bad man. The work he does, with the technical and creative skill he brings to bear on what he works on.. its exactly how I want to do.

Well, the same but different.

He.. is an original.

His images have the creative simplicity and creative mastery that Im just now becoming aware of that Im capable of.
“I want to capture a certain feeling, a sort of emotional response to the moment,” he explains later. “When I see something I want to capture some sense of the way I feel about it. The trace it leaves on me.”

I feel the same, but different.

Apart from Big Jimmy of Belgium and a few others, I will quickly turn away from browsing through Other People's Pictures. Not because Im envious, but because I will quickly bring my critical nature to bear to analyze and break apart the images.

And then I'll be influenced.

Noah's images tho -- with the mastery of his camera and the darkroom of photoshop fascinate me because ... it's exactly where I want to be.

But different. :-)
Unlike the Tiger, who tends to exert himself in an anarchic way, the Dragon proceeds with method, adhering strictly to the order of priorities he has established and pursuing his goals untiringly to the bitter end.

The danger of dissipation and futility does not really threaten him, as it does his Tiger counterpart.

From Greyexpectations
When he moved to California two years later, Noah found himself confronting nature on a grander scale.

“When I saw the ocean for the first time, I felt like I’d come home,” he says. “I felt that being here in California, being a part of the world, was something that I was meant to do all my life.”

I resisted coming out here.

But I came for the blue.

The same, but different. :)

Dude, what happened to my belt notches?

is five dollahs, any New Yorker will tell you.

Only suckers pay more, is the understanding.

When I first came to the Bay, I was hunting for the perfect five dollar meal.


Found it.

All you can eat (in two plates) buffet for $4.99 at Naan in a Hurry at the corner of Shattuck and University in Berkeley.

Whoof. Tryptophan overload.

Does anybody remember the score?

There was no nippleage shown (or "nipple-a-go-go" as Marn would say), as a fancy medallion covered it.
Why wear a nipple cover, hm?

It was planned, planned, planned.


Here is the SF Chronicle's take on it:

Wednesday, February 04, 2004


"... ok, its working now."
"Wow, I wouldve never thought to do THAT to fix it."
"Eh. I used to do this for a living."
"Youre probably the first person Ive met who can do what they say they can do."
"You see a lot of folk misrepresenting themselves?"
"Yes, telling people theyre more than what they are."
"Nah, not me. In fact, I tend to *understate* what I can do."
"You know... *That's* almost as bad."

I was taken aback at what she said, frankly.

Understatement almost as bad as overstating your curriculum vitae?


I leave things out when I talk about my skills and experiences, as many folk have the attitude of "If you can do all that, why are you poor?"

(Left unsaid is the "AND youre a black man... Im not sure I can believe you can do what you say.."
Eh, that's reality.)

So, I prefer understatement.

But, she may have a point.
Among the people who *do* know me, because theyve worked with me and known me on a professional level is Tim the Photographer

He recently dropped me a line requesting a status update

(Imagine a Aussie-tinged cockney accent):

> I was cursing your name as I had to rent an old powerbook
> to shoot a pano with
> recently....something along the line of "that Joe
> Pennant, never heard from
> him again after he made off with mine!?"
> Hehehe


> So what's cooking in Berkeley? What's keeping you
> there?

That's a very good question.

There is nothing keeping me here. I had intended to skate to LA last summer and then on to Hawaii.

Ive stayed here for a reason that Im loath to articulate, partly cuz Im tired of #(%#*&%$ repeating myself.

Im here because this feels like a home base. This place has serious possibilities.

> Did you ever sort out the i-d saga?

Mostly, although for some reason - Ive had my California ID sent to a specific address.. and STILL the people at that addrerss say it hasnt shown up yet.


So the ID saga continues.

> Many questions to ansa

Not to piss on the well-intentioned folk, but I can only give answers to those who can already fill in the blanks when I understate myself...
He was around (and was a partial inspiration) for the genesis of this path Im on, so he knows all about what Im trying to do..

> (your projects and dreams). Get that puppy outta the bag.
> And yo, don't anybody tell you otherwise, you're the
> only person you need to
> convince to get shit done.

Im convinced. :-)

> Until we diner again.

Until we Diner again. :-)

Monday, February 02, 2004

No shit.

The more I learn about the Bay Area, the more I keep say "No shit" to things the natives tell me offhandedly.

Before I got here, I knew that many famous musicians and bands came from the Bay Area (The Grateful Dead, Tony Tone Tone, Huey Lewis, MC Hammer, Digital Underground, Etta James etc) but to have people go "Yeah, I used to hang with so-and so, we stole cars together, her daddy lives over there and her daughter had a monkey..."

So, a list of folk I said "No shit, I never knew they came from here..."

"Yeah, Green Day is from Vallejo."
"No theyre not, theyre from Berkeley."
"And the Poynter Sisters are from Emeryville, by 43rd and San Pablo."
"Bullshit, June (Poynter) used to stay by me in Oakland by 53rd.."
"Sly and the Family Stone is definitely from Oakland. And Chaka Khan's father is over here in Berkeley."
"Oh, the Doobie Brothers are from San Jose, but back then they had a more mexican style."
"You cant forget The Whispers..."
"And Dawn from En Vogue is from Berkeley."
"So is Club Noveau, although they started off as the Timex Social Club."
"And the boys of Credence Clearwater are from El Cerrito."
"And Metallica is from Berkeley.."
"Although some of them came from Pinole too."
"You cant leave out Tower of Power. Oakland."
"Oh yeah, and Jodi Whatley is from Berkeley. Her sister is a porn star.. ever heard of Midori?"
"That's Berkeley for you."
"And Jefferson Starship is Frisco."
"Yeah, when they started as Jefferson Airplane."
"Of course MC Hammer."
"Yeah, Charlie Finley and some of the Oakland A's gave him the money to press his first albums."
"Cant forget Tupac. Born in Oakland. His mother was a Black Panther, remember - but she was run out of town by the FBI.."
"Oh, and the Escovido family is Oakland. Pete Escovido and his daughter Sheila E."
"Oh yeah, and Pebbles. Remember when she was with 'A.B' "?
"Who's A.B?"
"We aint that cool for me to tell you, man."
"Boz Skaggs is from the Bay too."
"Johnnie Lee Hooker is too."
"Nah, he's from Chicago."
"Man, he's from 76th and MacArthur. When I was in jail in '88, his son was doing 4 years. The guards used to let Junior out of the cell to tell them stories about when he used to tour with his daddy. I gotta admit, I was leaning by the bars listening too..."
"Oh yeah, and Sylvester is from Oakland. He was buried at the church of the Hawkins Family."
"Well, if you including Sylvester, then you gotta include Two Tons of Fun, although they known better as the Weather Girls."
"Joan Baez."
"She aint from here.. she only came to Berkeley for the Love."
"Nah, the Baez family is from Berkeley.."
"Confunkshon was from Vallejo too."
"So was E-40."
"I thought Too Short was too."
"Nah, he's from East Oakland."
"Then you got Master-P."
"Master P is from Louisiana!"
"Yeah, and grew up in Richmond."
"Oh yeah, Santana."
"Santana is from Oakland?"
"Nah, Carlos is San Francisco. So is Matchbox 20, REM, Journey, Eddie Money and Doctor John.."
"And Bruce Hornsby is from Berkeley. I thionk he still stays here."
"Anybody else?"
"All we can think of right now."

That was the verbatim conversation last night as much as I can remember it.

No shit.

When youre in tune with

As much as I
bitch about the rainy and cold weather of the bay.. there is one aspect I enjoy that it occasionally delivers in spades.

I like rainy days, specially when it rains hard all day.

Love it.

Today is shaping up to be such a day as the natives tell me February, March and part of April is the true wet season here.

I walked out, put my face to the sky and danced, hopped and jigged through the raindrops.

Helluva day.

Didnt even need coffee.
I dont believe in coincidences anymore, so when things go wrong and I end up going outside my normal routine, I wonder what will happen because of it.

The other day I made an errand, which turned into me going to downtown Oakland in a heated mood to flex on people trying to fuck with my reputation.

Then I took the BART back to Berkeley, where the rush hour crowds jammed the door to the train, putting it out of service, whereupon we streamed lemming like to the train across the platform.

And as I stood in the car when the train pulled into the next stop, someone stepped into the same car and stopped where I was standing.

It wasnt a long conversation.

But it set the stage for yesterday, when coffee with Mira went longer than planned, so I ended up waiting for the late bus to get to the Super Bowl party...

And when I arrived.. hey.

The conversation was longer this time. :-)

A line from That 70's Show that had special meaning..

"As god is my witness, I'll never be hungry or horny again!!!"