[12/19/2021> bunkering 4 another surge, flashing back to 2001 (picking up from post 965) b4 + after 9/11]
[pic from back when pics were date-stamped... additional pics from this time period here + here]
July 1, 2001 – NY
Sunday Morning and it is already hot and sultry. Yesterday we escaped the heat and went to the beach. Went to Penn station and caught a train down to Freeport Long Island and took a shuttle bus to Jones beach. Lot easier and cheaper than driving that’s for sure. No dealing with parking, traffic, all that. The beach was completely packed of course. But nice, swam in the ocean and staked out a spot on the shore. People watched and bobbed in the waves, layed in the sun, relaxed. It was good to get out of the city. Got back to the city and walked up to Hell’s Kitchen, met Andrea and went to Rice and Beans, and walked around in the summer heat.
Still working at pressplay [the precursor to the legal Napster]. It’s manic-depressive, one day I have nothing to do and am worried that we will get laid off (MP3.com is doing everything), the next day we are doing everything and we are running around trying to get five things done at once with half the people we had before. But it’s tolerable in the scope of things.
Reading The Bell Jar… I think it’s overrated, her poetry is much better. Not into the whiney, overprivileged New England white girl that makes feeble attempts at suicide to get attention. Why does anyone want to hear from sick people that see life as not worth living? I would rather read from writers that truly embrace life.
Finished “Proof-Reading the Self-Referential Examination” and posted it on Zoetrope, but of course no one gets it, people upset that it doesn’t follow the rules of conventional story-telling. And of course no one gets it to begin with. I guess this kind of story is for those that know something about physics or philosophy which I guess most people no little or nothing about. Oh well. All I can do is keep writing the way I write and hope that somebody likes it. [20 years later same old story!]
July 16, 2001 – NY
Went to Philadelphia this past weekend. Took the train down Saturday morning with So Young. Her sister met us and took her to her parents house. Weird to be in suburbia, but nice to stroll in the gardens. So Young drove us around Philly. First stopped downtown at the Farmers market and had cheese steaks, of course. There were a lot of Amish or Mennonites in the marker, the woman with funky looped back hair, and opaque bonnets. The guys with Abraham Lincoln beards and suspenders.
Then we walked around downtown, made our way towards South Street. Found Eyes gallery, but Isaiah and Julia weren't around. Pretty cool store though, crammed full of stuff. Walked more until we were tired, then drove around the south side, through the Italian markets, 23rd street, by the U Penn where So Young went to school. Then we went to the art museum, and of course had to run up the steps and get a "Rocky" shot. I ran up in 14 seconds and proceeded to yell "Yo Adrian!". The art museum itself is a beautiful building. Drove around more and ended up at some place, something like Pananyounk (?) where we had dinner and shopped. Then went back to her place.
Sunday morning we woke up and had a traditional Korean breakfast of beef and chicken gizzards and kim chee and other weird assortments. Good, but definitely going vegetarian after this beefy weekend. Some day I will say, the last meat I had was a cheese steak and Korean breakfast in Philly sometime back in 2001. Then we drove out to Atlantic City. Not as bad as I thought it would be, just a smaller version of Vegas. Nicer than the Mississippi Gulf Coast anyway. We went into the Trump casino but it was kind of depressing, being a beautiful day and all, so we went back to the car and got our beach towels. Not a great beach, but whatever, it was a beach. Good beaut-watching. Laying in the sun five feet from a homeless man with turrets and trailer-trash screaming at her fat kids. I was in the water most of the time body-surfing. Until the homeless man went into the surf to pee and fondle himself and I kind of lost motivation.
The drive back sucked. Got stuck in traffic for hours. Glad to be back, but not in time to do our long run. Did I mention that both [Bedder-½] and I made the NY Marathon lottery? She's training already, but I am prolonging mine as much as possible to avoid burnout. Just trying to do at least one long run a week just to maintain.
July 29, 2001 – NY
Ran 13 miles this morning. Took around 1:45. Running a half-marathon next weekend. Practice for the marathon. Bedder-½ ran around 10 miles. She is well on her way, as long as her knees can hold out. I feel like I’m getting a sore throat and it’s scary because it was about this time last year that I came down with pneumonia. I can’t afford to be missing work right now. Things are crazy. Working 10-12 hours a day. But I think the reason my throat hurts is because we went out to Centro Fly on Friday night. I invited Biswa out and we met up with Bedder-½ and Andrea. Went out to eat at some Italian restaurant in Chelsea (Ca Zie??) and then went to Centro Fly. Total racket. Andrea thought she had some special deal because she got on the internet waiting list or something. Of course everybody there had the same deal. But still, it was $10, not $20. It was the same place that we actually went with Andrea Lara last year after Copacabana and Bedder-½ and I didn’t want to pay to get in because it was already past 1 a.m. It actually wasn’t that bad once we were inside. It was fun because we were with Biswa and he had never been to a club like this. And Andrea was having fun. She immediately got me dancing, even though the place was dead, than others started dancing, and then we got Biswa out there, and by the end of the night Biswa was going nuts, hands in the air, shaking his thing. It was great. We danced for a few hours. Upstairs was kind of depressing blue light house music, smokey, dark, but the downstairs was more upbeat, orange light, a beat with actually some music to it. It was fun. Funniest thing is that come 1:30 when we were all tired (because we had been up since 6 a.m.) Biswa didn’t seem ready to go and we felt bad. He was having such a good time. As we were walking out, he just happened to run into some friends of his, weird coincidence! So he stayed. And it all worked out because we didn't feel bad leaving him.
I don’t know what happened to the rest of the weekend, today we went running and lounged around. I’ve been half-ass writing. Yesterday I wrote “N” or “Nitrogen” … want to do the whole periodic table of the elements, already have Oxygen and Nitrogen. Today I wrote the first draft of “Flashlight” … still not sure what I am going to call it. Sending out more stuff, and oh yah, got another piece published, speaking of Oxygen, got that published in Aught [of course, like most zines/sites from this era it is 404]. Things are looking up … at least in the small experimental magazines. Which, what would I expect, that’s where my work belongs I suppose.
Things at work are crazy and dramatic. Don’t know if I mentioned it in my journal, but Jim has kind of taken me under his wings, boosting my “personal development” as he calls it, and I suppose he is, but I am also teaching him a thing or two. He is introducing me to people, and giving me work outside of the tech group … ends up now I am doing a bunch of Customer Care stuff, the K-base and FAQs and all that, and I’ve been doing some Website copy ... and I am doing the entire online user manual on my own. Took a little bullying with Donna, but she or Mike has not stepped up, so I have filled that void and I have Jim behind me, so I’m running the show now in terms of documentation, and have developed a relationship with key people in L.A. (Hope, Daniel, Kevin) so they know who I am and are coming to me now for work, instead of Donna and Mike. The upside being that Jim is making moves to hire me full time. These are exciting times, everybody is into it, Kinneret, Lev, and Biswa were there til 4 a.m. one night, the LA folks pull all-nighters, we’re more of a close knit group, and most importantly, everyone believes in what we are doing and thinks it is something that might be big.… unlike Bluematter which we all knew was joke. So for now, I have a job, and have dug my heels in deeper, but I have a lot to do for the next month.
What else … it was hot, but the past week has been perfect. I am pretty happy. Bedder-½ is happy and she is making lots of friends and doing well in her research. They had to lay off Jabar on Friday which was a bummer, but the logical thing to do in the situation. He was hard-working and a good guy, but not cut out for that kind of research. Reading Borges, Schopenhauer, and some DR writer named Junot Diaz, along with all the literary rags. My fucking Hawaiian umbrella tree is not doing so hot. And now it’s time to go to bed.
August 9, 2001 – NY
Saw Radiohead last night, unbelievable show. I wasn't sure how their sound would translate live, but it was incredible. It was at Madsion Square Garden, they pretty much sold out the place. Went through ticketbasterd hell to get the tickets, but it was worth it. Saw Erykah Badu the night before in Central Park. It was fun, she's a righteous babe. We must be in concert mode or something. I was kind of sick last week with a weird sore throat, and then Bedder-½ got it and she got it bad. Still has it. I still ran the ½ marathon on Sunday, but she didn't. I didn't do too well, it was hot and I felt sluggish, took me about 1:50, actually I just checked the results and it was 1:51 ... how embarrassing. Bedder-½ didn't run it because she was sick. I ended up running about 15 miles when you factor in running to the start (at 72nd on the East side) and running back from the finish (at Tavern on the Green). I was sweating buckets by the time I got home. Supposedly today is one of the hottest days in NY history. Over 100. Feels like a nice summer day in Tucson.
August 13, 2001 – NY
It was hot last week, got up to 103 which I guess is the hottest it's been in NYC since 1976. But now it is raining and cooled off. Been working a lot, and not much else. Friday night I met Bedder-½ and So Young for Indian food on the upper West Side. Saturday we went and saw Redux (Apocalypse Now)... I honestly think none of the new footage adds anything to the film, if anything it subtracts. It's better thinking they never got laid on the way up the river. Saturday night we went to a party at Andrea's house. "Food Orgy" was the theme. You could only eat food if it was fed to you. Mostly Science geeks, but not so geeky actually. We didn't stay long as we had Kelly's party to get to. We managed to finagle our way out of the expensive dinner (what kind of person throws a birthday party for themselves and then requires you to pay for yourself, at some place that is pretentious and expensive?). By the time we got there (from Washington Heights down to the Meat Packing District) it was past midnight. Her party was in a backroom at Lot 61. They were still dealing with the damage of the bill when we got there, money stacked on the table, stacks and stacks of 20's.... good thing we skipped out on the dinner. Lot 61 is more of a nightclub then a restaurant. We moseyed into the main part. Bedder-½ was pointing out MTV VJs and what not that I don't know who they are. The crowd was pretension. Quite the scene. Kelly fit right in. She was decked, as were her friends. And they were also kind of boring and haughty. We just sat there not doing much except drinking water for $7 a bottle and inhaling cigarette smoke, and people watching. By the time we got home it was like 3 a.m. So the next morning was shot. Went running @ 10 a.m., but didn't run nearly as far as I wanted to (7 miles). Need to get my base mileage up during the week, rather than expect to be able to run 13 miles in one run, once a week. The marathon is getting closer. Before we saw Redux we went through bureaucratic hell at Time Warner and picked up our digital TV box. Actually come to think of it, most of Saturday was spent waiting, waiting for the subway, waiting at the Time Warner place, waiting for the movie (in the rain), waiting at the concessions stand, waiting for the subway, waiting to eat. Oh yah, before Andrea's party, we stopped at Sylvia's in Harlem for some soul food. Worth the hour or so wait. Anyways, we have digital TV so now Bedder-½ is addicted. I tried to get some writing done, wrote "Near Extinction" but am not very happy with it. Spent the whole day fudging with it to. Oh well. Guess I should get back to work now.
August 22, 2001 – NY
Sitting in the Jury waiting room … reading the Last Avant Garde which chronicles the lives of O’Hara, Koch, Ashberry and Schuyer. Supposedly the last Avant Garde movement… oh the times were grand. Now we live in an indifferent and intellectually void society. Everybody just wants to be entertained. Even in this jury room, they had to show us a video on the the whole juror system, complete with re-enactments of how it was in medieval times when they threw you in the water and if you floated you were guilty and if you sunk you were innocent. Like we should be honored to be here. And I would be, if I was fucking get paid for it. $40 compensation a day, hah, like you can live off that in NY? Bullshit. Oh, they are calling jurors and my battery is dying even though I have only been on 10 minutes. The guy is funny, saying they have back-issues of “jury pool news” complete with a crossword puzzle. Joy joy. False alarm, no calling, but supposedly there are cases. “You people are the only thing standing between civilization and anarchy”. I think a requirement for this job is ex-comedian.
This morning on the news I saw footage of a barge loaded with old subway cars, the redline express or whatever they called them. They were dumping them into the ocean 17 miles offshore... now that’s something to think about, all those fish and sea creatures occupying those cars that used to take millions of straphangers to work.
I feel like I am typing on a time bomb. It says 0% remaining. Any second it will cut off. Ctrl+ S. pressplay actually gave me another computer that I am supposed to be doing work on, but you know what, fuck them. I am sick of the politics. They blew out of control yesterday. I have been sitting on my hands since Aug.1 with the User Guide, because Hope and Kalani have been sitting on it. I keep pestering them about, but they won’t send it to me. They are like these possessive control freaks. e-mails were exchanged, calls were made. I finally got the zip file with all the HTML (which I thought I was making a sacrifice by working directly in Notepad!) but then Glenn Kaino, the hotshot kid from LA, sent an e-mail copying the world on it, with my name first, about how we needed to follow a process, ya-da-ya-da, and I was like whatever, I’ll give you the edits, explained in a word document. Not my problem that it means a lot more work for them. You try to save somebody some work and look what happens. The story of pressplay. Everybody is so stressed out, and you try to help, and they immediately jump on the offensive and think you are creating more work or something, when all you’re trying to do is provide feedback and make it a better product. I am starting to think it will be a complete failure because nobody is pliable. We have announced Sept. 18 launch and that’s just the way it is. People are freaking out. And I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t want to think about it when I wake up at two in the morning. I would rather be thinking of poetry.
Wow, I am still going strong, I should write a novel. A poem about the subway cars at the bottom of the ocean. So the big news is that [J] announced his wedding date of Dec. 15. I am trying to get tickets as we speak, but it is complicated, because … after Argentina we want to hit up the Galapagos! A dream come true. Where the Origin of Species was born. I finally found a 7-day tour on a boat, reserved it and everything, only problem is now I can’t get the ticket to Argentina via Ecuador. I can get it on the Internet, but it is like $1700 dollars. That’s as much as the cruise itself. It would be just as cheap to just do it another time. You’d think that it would be easy to just stop off in Ecuador on the way back, but evidently not. May as well just go on a separate trip. So now, I don’t know. Hang out longer in Argentina, or come back for x-mas. We’ll see.
[West Indies Day Parade]
September 10, 2001 – (Mystic, Connecticut, Long Island)
Waited til the weekend after Labor day to get out of town. Last weekend didn’t do much except go to the West Indies parade, which was insane with throngs of island people. Andrea went along with us, we ate fish and beans and rice, and tried to watch the parade, until we were fed up with the crowds and the advertising, and explored Brooklyn. Went around Carroll Gardens, ate at some non-trendy café… Brooklyn definitely has the pseudo-retro, trendy but not trying not to be trendy, thrift-store, Industrial-arts kind of feel. But almost like the basis of their identity is a kind of anti-NY statement, and they would have no identity besides this. But still, a striving arts feel, urban meets the small town feel.
This past weekend we rented a car on Saturday morning and drove up to Mystic Connecticut. Took our time driving, meandered along route 1, which was kind of disappointing, a few “quaint” towns, but mostly strip malls and used car dealerships, telephone wires, etc. Ate at some roadside diner filled with crazy locals. When we got to Mystic we lucked out and got the last room at the “Whalers Inn”. Mystic is a touristy town whose main attraction, besides the draw bridge is Mystic Pizza, the subject of the movie with the same name. It’s mostly just “cute” stores and ice cream parlors where people stroll about. We rented kayaks and cruised upstream, saw the Disneyesque “fishing village” or something, where they re-created all these old structures and boats, etc. to make you feel like you were back in the day when it actually was a whaling village. At least we didn’t pay the $14 entrance fee as we saw it from the water. Went quite a ways into the bay, saw cormorants, egrets, great Herons, and the trees that were just starting to change colors, graveyards, dragged our hands in the water, got some sun, watched the clouds, that sort of stuff. Paddled back to town and watched the drawbridge and the boats going through, paddled into the open bay, saw huge swans, with their babies that were also huge and aggressive. Lots of boats. Paddled back to town and got out and walked around. Then drove out to this place Stonington boro, a quaint little town, reminiscent of Portsmouth area, had a late lunch overlooking the harbor, then explored around in tide pools and watched the sunset from the point.
Next morning we woke up early (6 a.m.) and did our marathon training. Ran around on this scenic road along the bay, inland, and then up these steep hills, through dark lush forests, Bedder-½ was getting tired after about 10 miles, as the hills wiped her out. We ended up out by Stonington boro, and then back to Mystic, and then a little extra, to make it 2:10 of running. Then we explored a little more of Mystic, then started back, decided to take the ferry back from New London to Shelter Island, actually we didn’t really know where we were going except that it was to Long Island. Ferrys are fun. Drove on, parked, then got out and went up on to the top deck and enjoyed the ride. Then got off on Long Island. We were impressed. Very lush and rural, farms and cornfields, and then you’d stop and there were these beautiful beaches. Stopped at one beach that was all smooth crystallized rock. Being that we were on the north shore, wasn’t much in the way of waves or anything. But still, very calm and relaxing. Took the back roads, past vineyards and fresh produce stands where we bought apple pie and jams, that sorta shit. Stayed along the north shore on 25A, through all the little towns, stopped in Bayville for seafood on the beach, then back into NYC at dusk, what a rush, driving into the NY skyline, from horizon to horizon, nothing but buildings, colors and lights. It’s starting to feel like home when we come back to Manhattan. Now it’s cloudy, but the clouds are in motion. Procrastinating starting work.
[dodging waves on Long Island]
September 12, 2001 – NYC
Reading the end of my last journal entry is eerie, commenting on the NY skyline. That is no longer. It is still billowing with smoke, but the gap where the World Trade towers were is obvious. I went to work like normal yesterday. Walked the whole way. I must have walked in to work around 8:45, right when the first plane hit, but I was oblivious. I was in the tech area with Cora, when Kara comes back and says that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. At first I was picturing a small plane that clipped it or something, and was wondering how the hell that could possibly happen. We looked out the window at the other end, and sure enough, tower 1 was ablaze and billowing black smoke. We turned the TV on and were watching, trying to make sense of it, when we saw the second plane hit. Even the newscasters didn’t know what was going on, though obviously when two planes hit like that it can’t be accidental. Went between the TV and the windows looking out over downtown. Just to verify that the images on TV were corresponding to reality. It was unbelievable, like a movie. Never seen anything so unbelievable.
Then other events started to unfold, the Pentagon gets hit, then as we are watching, tower 2 collapses. That’s when the seriousness of the situation sunk in. The whole fucking building just collapsing into rubble. This was war. Then tower 1 collapses. All sorts of other false reports, more missing planes headed for LA, a fire on the Washington Mall, Capitol Hill blown up. At that point, Mike Bebel told us all to go home (even though some, like Bill, had gone back to work as if nothing happened, holding meetings, etc.). Walking through Mid-town was surreal. It was like people didn’t know what was going on, or didn’t comprehend the magnitude, people were still working, sweeping the streets, construction workers, clothes stores, etc. A few things that really struck me as really odd, was a doorman that was polishing one of those brass fire hose fixtures, and the carousel in Central Park was still operating. Parents were putting their children on it, and the weird happy carnival music was playing. Everybody was quite calm, although there was a mass exodus northward, business people, women with their high heels in their hands, trudging north, through the park. But orderly and calm, nothing like the aftermath of the Santa Cruz earthquake where people were getting drunk, panicking, and losing their shit. That’s NY for you. Just a day in the life. And today is business as usual…
Got home and just watched it on TV. Bedder-½ was at Columbia, and didn’t leave right away to avoid the initial panic of people. But later she came down with So Young (who didn’t want to be alone watching this sort of stuff). We just ate burritos and watched it until we were sick to our stomachs from watching it, and just tried to find other stuff to do. I walked So Young down to the bus stop and there were all sorts of emergency vehicles covered with dust and debris moving north, tow trucks pulling debris-covered cars… went home and was glued to the TV, couldn’t believe some of the footage they got. This time around the revolution was televised. Woke up periodically throughout the night thinking that it was all a dream. Kept trying to check my e-mail and Internet but it was down. Checked the address of FirstGate, my DSL provider, and they are at 34 Broadway, a few blocks from WTC. But got in touch with most everybody. Now, when will things be back to normal?
September 25, 2001 – NYC
Been very busy at work. It's been two weeks since the day and it's definitely business as usual. I'm getting sucked in, worked 60 hours last week. On top of all the User Guide and K-base and Customer Care stuff, Bill has given me like 6 new technical documents and the responsibility of trying to gather and organize all documents, and I am also the scribe now for the daily calls.... no writing in the evenings. And then sundays, been running. So really no time for anything else. Allergies are getting better but still wake up periodically through the night and my sleep cycle is all fucked. Rained today, hopefully that will help. Getting cooler. Perfect weather. What else. Not much. Lots of walking. Watching news. Waiting for developments.
[chronillogically onword 2 Oct–Dec 2001]