Archived updates from Daryl's Home Page

Journals - September 2002
Monday, September 30, 2002

I was out and about Sunday morning when a man approached me on the sidewalk. "Is this the way to Prospect Park?" he asked. "Yeah, that way," I said. "Thanks. There's a free Enrique Iglesias concert there this afternoon," he replied. "Really?" I said. He handed me a flyer that said "Enrique Iglesias. Performing live! Free admission!" Yes, that's Enrique "Let-me-be-your-hero" Iglesias, one of the world's most famous pop stars, playing a free show in my neighborhood. I called a friend and of course we had to go. In all, there were maybe 1,500 people gathered at the band shell to see Enrique. Just us locals, our pal Enrique, and his seven musicians and three dancers, on a sparkling Sunday afternoon. How does this happen? Well, apparently Enrique was in the city to play a show at Madison Square Garden the night before. He stopped by for a free show in Brooklyn as a promotion for a car company. Because of his contract, the free show could not be announced until after he had played the Garden... in other words, just Sunday morning. So it was an exclusive private performance for those of us lucky enough to hear about it word-of-mouth. Some good music was just what I needed to get focused for today, when I start my new job.

- Daryl

Sunday, September 29, 2002
Do you like American music?

Oooow! That's the sound of pain in my ears Saturday afternoon. My neighbors closed down 21st Street for the annual block party. Yay, party!, right? The day began with the sound of a tow truck dragging away the remaining cars parked on the street. Next, the children started playing -- and screaming. Around mid-afternoon, a DJ began spinning some freshly pressed hip-hop records. It was gloriously loud. Still, while I enjoy Ludacris rapping at full blast on my car radio as I speed along Fourth Avenue, the bass can only rattle the windows and floors of my apartment so long before I get sick of it. Seeking relief, I wandered over to a bluegrass jamboree in Park Slope, paid $2 and sat on the lawn of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture (I'll spare you the explanation for what "ethical culture" is). I listened to some guys jamming on banjos, guitars and fiddles. It was crisp and fresh, like good cucumber salad. Aaaah.

Tomorrow is my first day at work.

- Daryl

Saturday, September 28, 2002
Just a demonstration

You've been paying close attention to this week's protests against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington. You haven't? Why not? Because it's boring! Secretly, I'm almost always rooting for the anti-establishment side. But that's getting harder to do, the way I see it. Ever since the out-of-left-field attack on the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in 1999, the anti-globalization movement has developed a routine. Faced with the world's mega problems -- poverty, disease, hunger, discrimination, drug laws, the imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal, general law and order -- student activists decided there was a simple answer: It's the World Bank's fault. Worse, the students decided the best way to get the World Bank/IMF/WTO to do their bidding was to harass their members and shut down their meetings. Protesters grab their signs and their puppets and head to the WTO meeting nearest to their town. They speak with a dozen voices from a dozen messages that don't always mesh well, from gay rights (a good thing) to anarchy (a bad thing). But when the TV crews show up, a few spokespeople emerge to complain about a world "run by corporations." I can tell you that these protests are a lot of fun, with drum circles, charismatic old hippies who tell great stories, and a general campfire/peace-pipe sort of camaraderie. I think most of these students want to right wrongs, and to feel like they're putting up a good fight and putting on a good show. Sadly, their target is a hapless group of international bankers. Bo-ring. It's as if these protesters are just waiting for a new target for their energy. You know, like a pointless and bloody war. Hey guys: Hang around Washington a few weeks and see if we get one.

- Daryl

Friday, September 27, 2002
Updog days

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. -- I'm in Maryland right now helping my dad with some house stuff. Back to New York later today.

My brother Gerritt, who spent the summer as a camp counselor in Florida, remembers the following exchange:

Me: "Hey man. How's it going?"
Random 16-year-old: "Not bad, kinda smells like updog."
Me: "What's updog?"
Random 16-year-old: "Just chillin'. 'sup with you?"

- Daryl

Thursday, September 26, 2002
Stormy weather

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. -- I'm in Maryland right now helping my dad with some house stuff. Back to New York Friday.

As I drive back north, it looks like Isidore will be hot on my heels. For the record, there will never be a Hurricane Daryl. There are simply too many other D names, and mine doesn't appear on the World Meteorological Organization's list for tropical cyclone names. There's Dolly, Danny, Danielle, Dennis, Debby and Dean... alternating guy-girl names by year. Have you ever checked to see if your name is on the list? You can do so by clicking here. Some of the names are downright silly. It's kind of hard to imagine Hurricane Wilma ever being much of a menace, isn't it?

- Daryl (Thanks to Renée for today's topic.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Who's the Boss?

A short walk from my apartment lie the bones of Boss Tweed -- six feet beneath the spendidly landscaped Greenwood Cemetery. William Marcy Tweed, who died in 1878, personified bad government. Boss wasn't just his nickname, it was what he did. As the New York City public works commissioner, he ran a corrupt system of kickbacks through a Democratic machine called the Tammany Society. He helped give New York the Brooklyn Bridge, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and better public services, but did so while pocketing millions of dollars of the public's money. He was finally brought down by -- who else? -- New York's gallant newspaper reporters (and cartoonist Thomas Nash). Tweed had actually served as a U.S. Representative for a time, but later turned his back on the country as he fled to Cuba and Spain in an attempt to escape corruption charges. The law caught up to him and he eventually died behind bars back in the U.S. Today, his name is taught in high school social studies classes everywhere as the classic example of post-Civil War corruption. Oh yeah, did I mention he was a firefighter?

Unrelated note: Jay Leno made fun of two of my friends last night. He was leafing through his funny newspaper clips, and he said "Here's an unfortunately named couple." Then he showed the "Gross-Hoe" wedding announcement. Congrats, Lori and Dave! (They were actually married in May, but I guess it took a while for Jay to get to them.)

- Daryl

Tuesday, September 24, 2002
All you need is dove

As I settled in my new apartment, I was startled one afternoon by a fluttery, swooshing sound outside. The noise started softly then swiftly grew loud as it blasted past my windows. This happened over and over again. I looked outside to see a massive flock of pigeons -- hundreds of them -- skimming along the apartment roofs like a school of fish fleeing a net. I knew the preferred way to watch pigeons is from underneath a roof, but I ventured out on the fire escape last week to take some pictures of them dancing in the wind. They seem to come by about once a week. They don't appear to be going anywhere, just riding the wind and having a grand time, getting a glimpse at the Statue of Liberty from high above 21st Street. Some people, derisively, call pigeons "rats of the sky." And yeah, they make a mess out of park statues and church steeples, but I think they're really rather docile birds. The common pigeon is a member of the same family of birds as doves. I remember reading once that scientists who examined the way birds fly determined that each bird is trying to make its way to the center of the flock. I don't know if that's true, but it explains how they stay so closely together as they keep moving in the same direction. Kind of like, say, New Yorkers going to work. I don't know why the pigeons buzz my roof top, but I think it's cool to have them around.

- Daryl

Monday, September 23, 2002
Autumn in New York

I hope you're having a good equinox. I look forward to the first fall chill, partly because I can start wearing jackets with lots of pockets, and partly because it kills the humidity and brings the promise of snow. Right now, the weather is just one change in my life. As the days shorten and the trees become sticks, I'll be getting ready for a new job in radically different surroundings. I start work a week from today. I still can't believe I'm here.

Back in Carlisle, I was the only person in town with a "blog," as far as I could tell. (For those of you just tuning in, a blog is the trendy word for regularly updated online journal.) Here in New York, so many people have blogs that there is a web site that organizes us by subway stop. On the chance that somebody finds my site by looking for folks on the F line, I added a fairly basic about page today.

Tomorrow: Shall I write about the war on Iraq? Nah. I want to write about pigeons.

- Daryl

Sunday, September 22, 2002
AIM therapy

Do you suppose anyone has studied the mental health benefits of AOL Instant Messenger conversations? Consider this actual exchange, from about a month ago, between me and one of my friends. (Edited slightly for space.)

Her: have you ever written down your goals and dreams
Me: Not really, no. I write down a lot of stuff, but usually it's just about the present, not the future. It's hard to look ahead.
Her: its not really looking ahead though. if you look at it one way, its like looking at the present. like what are my goals right now
Me: Well, I know what my goals are between now and October, if that counts. Those are goals, though, not dreams.
Her: whats the difference
Me: I want to get a good job as a copy editor at a big magazine in New York. But that's not a dream.
Her: could be a dream to someone. its all relative
Me: See, if I end up working as something else -- not a magazine, but equally comfortable and fun -- I won't feel like I haven't fulfilled my dream, you know? Now if I end up unemployed and living in a van by the river, I won't have met my goals. But can I still meet my dream? What is my dream? I don't know.
Her: point well taken. well now you have a new goal... to find out what your dream is
Me: Ooo, tying it all together! Nice!
Her: (hold the applause) see there is method to my madness sometimes
Me: You're so smart. And so New York will be my chance not to follow my dream -- but to find it.
Her: exactly Daryl.
Me: That's real good. I'm gonna write that down.

- Daryl

Saturday, September 21, 2002
Strawberry Fields forever

Two objectives for this fine, fine Saturday. First, walk the whole length of Central Park, from north to south. Done. Second, go somewhere where people are playing live music. Still working on the second, unless you count subway stops. I'm getting to know the city grocery shopping routine... Buying a few items at a time in small shops. I am trying to wean myself off Pathmark.

- Daryl

Friday, September 20, 2002
Off my chest

Today, two confessions.

1. I enjoy wandering aimlessly through the streets of Manhattan and watching people. I had an appointment at the office this afternoon, but went in to town early and walked up and down 42nd Street. An old man's hat blew off and skidded into the street, and a shabby guy pushing a shopping cart dashed into traffic to save it, and gave it back to man. A fire truck wailed through Times Square, and tourists took pictures of it. At the UN building, there seemed to be more police on the rooftops than pedestrians on the sidewalks. I attempted to do the Times crossword while sitting on one of the folding green chairs in Bryant Park, near the chess players, listening to people yapping on their phones as they passed. In Grand Central Station, the memorial display for Sept. 11 attack victims drew a crowd. A fully costumed Oom-Pah band wandered by on Broadway. A camera crew set up outside the New York Public Library. I could go on and on. So many things to see. Of course, I'm new here. Maybe the novelty will wear off after a while. I hope not.

2. I am addicted to the Yahoo! "Literati" game. No matter how often I win, the very act of playing makes me a loser.

- Daryl

Thursday, September 19, 2002
Coming to America

I wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty today and walk to the top, but it remains closed to tourists. I assume this is an anti-terrorism measure. Instead, I rode the ferry to Ellis Island and saw the immigration museum there. It is moving to read the stories of people who came to America with only what they could carry and tried to set up a better life. It's equally moving to see people in my neighborhood who are still doing the same thing today. This week and next week are my summer vacation, basically, until I start work a week from Monday. I'm going to sleep late, explore as much of New York as I can, and hope I don't run out of money. I took a lot of pictures today, and I'll be posting them in the future in the column at the right. (Watch for photos of the Statue of Liberty and of this crazy flock of pigeons that soars around my block.)

- Daryl

Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Sock it to me

Verna from Alberta, whom I have never met, badly wants my socks. She called last night in a kind of desperation. It seems her company in Calgary is taking part in a massive city-wide Corporate Challenge, which bills itself as "the largest annual amateur athletic event in Canada." The competition includes, naturally, a scavenger hunt. One item on this list is a pair of British Airways socks. How do I fit in to this quest? Well, guess what comes up when you Google "British Airways socks?" That's right, a page from my travel journal from Europe last year. Verna called last night and said she needs the socks by Sunday. This is of critical importance because her team has won the gold medal two years in a row, and this could help them win a third time. The prize is a trophy. Always willing to share a gesture of goodwill with a neighbor to the north, I dug to the bottom of my sock drawer and found my seldom-worn but oh-so-comfortable blue British booties. Today, I shipped said socks to Canada via overnight international FedEx (at the expense of Verna's company). Filling out the customs papers, I listed the contents as "2 socks" with a value of "US$1." Incidently, Verna's team also needs a Canadian lottery ticket from a certain date in May. Can anybody help them out?

- Daryl

Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Beep beep

Remember that Far Side cartoon in which the scientist has invented a translator for dogs? He wears it outside, and as dogs bark at him, he hears them shouting: "Hey! Hey! Hey!" This reminds me of what people are saying with their car horns in New York City. I live on a quiet street, but not everyone can be so lucky. On the busy avenues, drivers toot their horns at anything. A truck blocking traffic. Students crossing the street after school. Someone making a perfectly legal left turn. Guy on a scooter. Somebody pushing a cart on the sidewalk. Cute people outside a bar. Despite the road signs that admonish "No horn blowing except for danger," people beep at anything, emergencies and otherwise. Sometimes, the honking is rude and intended to scold someone for making a dumb driving move, like slowing down. Other times, it's a friendly toot that says "I see you." Like the dogs, it's just a way to make some noise. It's doing what people do: Make an observation, and share it. Just say "Hey!"

A minor program note... I've updated my unspectacular résumé and recipes pages to match the new design. Oh, and I got my stove hooked up today, so now I can get back to cooking.

- Daryl

Monday, September 16, 2002
Mission accomplished

So it looks like I have a job. I'll be working as an editorial assistant in Manhattan, most likely starting in two weeks. As is the custom in New York, I will not be writing about my job in the Internet.

That leaves me some time to explore New York. Maybe I'll be less clueless about the city by then. I've already learned the hard way not to park in front of a sidewalk pedestrian ramp. (Fine: $55.) And I've watched my car insurance rates more than triple (still hopeful that the new number is a mistake).

- Daryl

Sunday, September 15, 2002
Cowboys in Brooklyn

The Methodist church I went to this morning had a "social action" table set up next to the coffee and cake after the service. There was a fax machine on the table, so you could fill out a form letter protesting the war against Iraq and send it to your congressperson.

The laundromat doesn't take quarters. It takes special stored-value cards.

I was driving home from the laundromat in the rain and seriously, on 4th Avenue, I saw a man riding a horse, dressed as a cowboy. He was carrying a rather large whip. There was another person on a second horse, but I didn't get a good look at her. It was this strange image through the rainy windshield, but I'm sure they were there, and I'm sure they weren't cops. Such is the kind of strange site that probably has a perfectly reasonable explanation, but that I haven't figured out yet. Who rides a horse in Brooklyn? My friend says she was walking in Manhattan with one of her friends and saw, in a traffic island near on Broadway, two people who had set up a salon sink. Right there, in the middle of the concrete traffic island, one was washing the other's hair. You see things here that don't make any sense, but you just smile and keep moving.

- Daryl

Saturday, September 14, 2002
The great wide-open

Today I drove around a little bit and oriented myself with Park Slope. Seventh Avenue, my nearest cross street, turns into a really fun strip of international restaurants and shops a few blocks from here. I'm sure I'll have fun trying out new foods. There are some churches, hardware stores, banks, laundromats, pizza places, and other essentials. This is the nice part of the neighborhood. There are a lot of young people around who look cooler than me. (Note to self: Start wearing more black.) There are also a lot of families in this neighborhood, from a spectrum of ethnicities. At the top of my hill (the "slope" in Park Slope) lies the massive Green-Wood Cemetery. A number of famous New Yorkers are burried there. I can see the rolling hills of tombstones and nice landscaping through the fence, but I haven't been inside the grounds yet. That will be something to explore in the coming weeks. Oh, and I discovered Thursday that on a clear day, I can see the Statue of Liberty from my block. So much to see and do.

- Daryl

Friday, September 13, 2002
Please remain calm

So it's Friday the 13th. For me, that meant about 8 hours on the highway, traveling to Carlisle one last time to empty out my old apartment, then back to Brooklyn. For a couple of guys in Florida, it must have been one lousy day on the Interstate. First they run a toll booth. Then they're stopped by cops, who shut down the entire highway for the whole day to probe their car with a robot. The TV stations go live. Wrong information about these men is broadcast on every radio station in the country by clueless deejays who see the "Breaking News" logo on TV and assume this must be something of critical importance. My dad and I actually heard a guy on a country station today, in a very serious voice, make this announcement: Three terrorist suspects have been arrested in Florida, and there was an explosion at a chemical plant in Texas -- "No word on whether these two events are related." Hmm. A year later, we still walk that fine line between vigilance and paranoia.

- Daryl

Thursday, September 12, 2002
Got to keep on moving

Moving is a lesson in scale. My sofa looks huge in my living room, and my living room looks small with a sofa in it. Move the sofa out, and the room suddenly looks vast. Set the sofa in the back of a 14-foot U-Haul truck, and -- presto -- you have a tiny sofa. My dad and I have been watching this happen all day long as we moved an entire apartment full of furniture from Carlisle to Brooklyn. (Thank you Dad!) The NYPD stopped our truck at the Verrazano bridge so cops could check it. As they rolled open the back door and peered inside, I could see all my wordly possession next to a massive toll booth, at the foot of a massive bridge, overlooking a massive, massive city. With that perspective, I could see my stuff doesn't even fill up a tiny truck in a big world. Not bad. But then, the truck grew in size as the streets got narrower, until finally we opened it up in front of my apartment and realized there was no way all that stuff was going to fit inside. And yet it did. Here I am, in a new place, surrounded by my incredible growing, shrinking collection of found furniture. Man, you can tell I'm tired.

There has been a report of trouble with the message board. I will look into it. Meanwhile, my apologies if it doesn't work.

Finally, a thought I had on the drive today: People everywhere like to think the world revolves around their town. New Yorkers are the only ones who can think so and be right.

- Daryl

Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Not forgotten

This morning, it seemed right for me to spend a few minutes at Ground Zero. A year ago, it was dust and smoke and death. Today, there was a good breeze, the sky was bright, and there was a solemn crowd wearing a lot of red, white and blue. I couldn't get in close, but I mingled with the crowd that jammed in to hear the reading of the names. As I write this now, in Brooklyn, I can hear church bells ringing to mark the time the second tower fell a year ago. I'm told my next-door neighbor was in the trade center last year. He stayed home from work today. Some of my friends in Washington last night sounded a little uneasy, too.

So when did you cry? I think for me it was that Friday, after I had a phone conversation with my brother and we talked about whether we might go to war. That shook me up a little bit. We can see now that most of the war talk was an over-reaction. This strange campaign against terrorism has been fought with information -- orange alerts, secure undisclosed locations, bizarre video tapes released to the news networks. Back here at home, we canonized our firefighters, perhaps to the point of ignoring our stock brokers and flight attendants. Here in New York, everyone is still buying and flying American flags. I wish I had my flag to put in the window, but it's back in Pennsylvania. September 11 now feels like it marks the start of new year. That's the case for me, especially because I just moved to New York this week. Oh, I'm rambling. There's too much to say about all this. I hope you respect the day in whatever way seems right for you.

- Daryl

Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Totally free checking

Looking for excitement? Not here. I spent today opening a bank account, talking to my insurance company, getting a whole mess of addresses switched and investigating the subway lines to Manhattan. (I'm going to like the W train, I think.) I've also been waiting for a phone call about a job, a call that never came. I'll just keep my phone close at hand tomorrow. And listen for the doorbell, too... The gas company is supposed to show up sometime "between noon and six." I'll be here in an empty apartment without a TV or a radio. That's probably a fine way to spend September 11. Watch this space tomorrow for my thoughts on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks, in case you care what I have to say on the matter. I feel less a part of this tragedy than the people around me here in Brooklyn. After all, I was living in Carlisle a year ago. That was my third week at work, in a new place, just beginning to realize that I wasn't going to be happy there. If you want, you can read my journal entry from that day a year ago.

- Daryl

Monday, September 9, 2002
Brooklyn's newest resident

It felt good today to get the keys into a new place. Phone service is hooked up, the power is on and gas will be on Wednesday. I have the keys to the mailbox, I've met two of my neighbors (both much nicer than my neighbors in Carlisle) and I've discovered a few nifty things about my place that I didn't notice on the first walkthrough. Of course I'm nuts about having a skylight in the shower. I have a tin ceiling in the kitchen. I have about a billion kitchen cabinets, most relatively free of insect life. My ceilings are high. Someone who lived here in the past must have had a thing for pastel paints, which I can dig. I successfully walked down the block and bought a quart of milk, a bottle of Gatorade and a box of Ritz Bits Sandwiches. Right now, I'm sitting in a folding beach chair and typing with my computer set up on a small coffee table. Maybe tomorrow I'll take the big leap and open a local checking account. And there is still more moving to be done, of course.

- Daryl

Sunday, September 8, 2002
This week, I'm an optimist

Where will you be September 11? I'm still trying to figure out where my week will take me.

Monday I expect to get the keys to my new apartment in Brooklyn. Depending on how quickly I get dial-tone phone service, there might not be an update to this home page until Tuesday. Don't panic, I'll make it up to you somehow.

Tuesday I expect to hear a yes-or-no answer to my one solid job prospect. I think it will work out. Then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be days to settle at my new place, move all the stuff out of my old apartment in Carlisle and give that Carlisle apartment a good scrubbing. I'll need every penny of my security deposit back.

- Daryl

Saturday, September 7, 2002
New look, same great taste

You'll notice a new design for the home page today. I'll be phasing in the new look over the rest of site in the next several days. You'll recognize the Brooklyn Bridge in the logo, reflecting my new home, as of Monday. On top of that, I hope you'll find the whole site more fun, easier to read, and simpler to navigate.

Several new features: First, you can click on the red button at the left to go to the new message board. Second, I'll occasionally post different photos I've taken under the "Picture" heading. Pictures will be archived on the same page as the old journal entries. Third, I'll list whatever fun songs I'm listening to under the "Three cool songs" heading. If you're a MP3 junkie like me, you might have fun trying out these songs. Finally, I'm going to spruce up my "Resume" section with some new features. As before, you'll find a new journal entry on the site once a day. And as always, you can e-mail me by clicking on my name below.

For reasons I cannot explain, traffic on this site keeps going up. Dozens of people read this site each week. I hope you all are enjoying it.

- Daryl

More journals:Most recent
Aug 02 . Jul 02 . Jun 02 . Apr - May 02 . Jan - Mar 02 . Jul - Dec 01

Statue of Liberty photo

Statue of Liberty, photographed Sept. 19. - Posted 09.28.02

Pigeons photo

Pigeons in flight over my fire escape, photographed Sept. 19. - Posted 09.24.02

Ellis Island photo

The Manhattan skyline, seen from Ellis Island. - Posted 09.19.02

Prospect Park photo

Some of my feathered neighbors at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. - Posted 09.16.02

Sept. 11 photo

A man waves a flag near the World Trade Center site. - Posted 09.11.02

Apartment photo

This is my new street in Brooklyn. My apartment is in the yellow building. - Posted 09.09.02

Cat photo

My dad's cat, at rest in Maryland. - Posted 09.07.02

Cool songs
  • "My Town" - Montgomery Gentry
  • Ben Folds' live cover of "Tiny Dancer"
  • "The Ketchup Song" - Las Ketchup
  • "Hey Ma" - Cam'ron
  • "The Last DJ" - Tom Petty
  • "This Land Is Your Land" - Woody Guthrie
  • "Jesus, etc." - Wilco
  • "Sk8er Boi" - Avril Lavigne
  • "Ol' Red" - Blake Shelton