Daryl's Home Page
Journal Archive - August 2003

Journal | Saturday, August 30, 2003 | #
The O.C.

This weekend I'm driving to a place where the funnel cake is fresh, the water is warm, and it's still cool to drive a Camaro: Ocean City, Maryland. I'll be soaking up sun and breathing in some salty sea air. Since I'll be away, there will be no journal on Sunday or Monday. Have a happy Labor Day, all y'all!

- Daryl

Journal | Friday, August 29, 2003 | #
Shopping for rings

I don't have a fancy cell phone, but when I get one there's a dangerous risk that I'll be tempted to program it with some kind of silly ring tone. New phones have built-in synthesizers that play jolly little tunes in multi-part harmony, an improvement over the old phones that can barely eke out "Happy Birthday" or "Scotland the Brave." At one one ring-town download site, CNET's Cell Phone Zone, you can preview and buy dozens of popular songs as cell phone rings. They range from obvious (the James Bond theme) to corny (New York, New York) to downright brilliant ("Rock Your Body" by Justin Timberlake).

...What's it like to be a newspaper reporter? Read this story.

- Daryl

Journal | Thursday, August 28, 2003 | #

I don't have nearly enough cheese in my life. Here's why. I live close to a large produce market, at least three excellent bakeries, and several well-stocked meat counters. Yet my neighborhood lacks a cheese shop. The closest I can find is an Italian food store near my subway stop, but it's cheese selection is limited to fresh mozzarella (sold in goopy fist-sized chunks wrapped in dripping plastic) or a small selection of expensive imported cheeses. For now, I get my dose of dairy from ice cream.

... My brother just posted a bunch of New York pictures online, including this photo of him and I. (A little fuzzy, but cool that way.)

... For some reason, a journalist has written a book about life at Wilde Lake Middle School in Columbia, Md. (I went to nearby Dunloggin Middle.) The book is actually called: "Not Much, Just Chillin'."

- Daryl

Dean photo

Journal | Wednesday, August 27, 2003 | #
"Move over, I want my country back again."

Even before last night's Howard Dean rally at Bryant Park, I had reason to be interested in Howard Dean for president. I'm in his target audience of tech-savvy, educated young people. Plus, Dean has cast himself as the gay-friendly, anti-war alternative to President Bush, someone who appeals even to people who don't get active in politics. But apart from those details, the man was a mystery. I wanted to see him in person.

Cheryl, Antonio, Ruiyan, and I got to the rally early and watched a crowd fill the park. (Dean's web site estimates the crowd at 10,000.) Logistics and crowd control were outstanding, with a staff of courteous volunteers armed with laptop computers and access to Bryant Park's free WiFi network. The crowd was sober, good-humored, and courteous. Some local politicians were on hand, including Rep. Major Owens from Brooklyn, but no Sen. Clinton. Before the speech, a team of Dean-sanctioned tag artists decorated the white stage backdrop with "old-school" New York graffiti.

Dr. Dean took the stage at 10 p.m. sharp and stumped for 30 minutes. We know all politics are local, so Dean took care to mention his opposition to energy de-regulation (something no one cared about before the blackout) and his concern for security following the terror attacks. His support for renewable energy got big cheers, as did the stabs he took at President Bush foreign policy. "I will never send our sons and daughters and brothers and sisters to die in a foreign country without being truthful to the American people," he said. Dean spoke about making more jobs, providing better health care for children, improving schools, and a other public goods that no one can argue against.

Dean is well known for his support for gay rights, including gay marriage, something that goes over well here in New York. While his support for domestic partner benefits while governor of Vermont seems a bit murky, I'm glad Dean speaks in support of gays. I wish he could speak as comfortably about race. He seemed to fall apart during the section of his speech about civil rights. To my ears, he either left out a transition, or accidently flipped the words "black" and "white" when talking about black voters in the south, creating a non sequitur that left the crowd feeling uncomfortable. The video crew made matters no better at that moment by putting on the video screen a close-up of a young woman of color in the audience, who looked as confused and uncomfortable as Dean did. This is bad. One thing Bill Clinton did right was to connect with black people on a personal, empathetic level. Dean, who like Clinton and Bush happens to be a Yalie, doesn't have as much credibility as a champion for minorities. Still, he knew his facts about affirmative action, and I think most people view him as the best of the Democrats so far. And as one T-shirt I saw at the rally said: "Anybody But Bush for President 2004."

Dean ended his stumped speech by reminding us all that he was born in New York City, followed by cheers from the crowd. I didn't get to see if he came down from the stage after the speech to kiss any babies. Of course, in this crowd of tech-savvy, educated young people, I didn't see any babies anyway.

- Daryl

Journal | Tuesday, August 26, 2003 | #
Bad service

In principle, a car service a good idea: You dial a phone number to order a car, and a few minutes later a Town Car pulls up, beeps the horn, and takes you where you want to go for a set fee. You get many of the benefits of having a car without having to own one. But car service companies in Brooklyn are the definition of shady. They employ drivers so terrible — reckless! — that other drivers (and bicyclists) quickly learn to steer clear of anything resembling a Town Car. I once saw a car service car come to a dead stop in the middle of 20th Street, blocking a fire engine trying to squeeze past with lights flashing and siren blaring. Car service drivers also beep their horns loudly and repeatedly at inappropriate overnight hours. Since their entire business depends on people knowing their phone numbers (law forbids them from stopping for taxi hails, though many will stop for you illegally), car services litter the neighborhood with business cards and flyers. Yesterday, in what must be the worst case of mistargeted advertising I've ever seen, I found an ad for a car service tucked under the windshield wiper of my car! Thanks, but no thanks. ...

If you want to keep your language up to date, you should read this interesting article about the evolving usage of the words Hispanic and Latino.

- Daryl

Turtles on a rock at the Botanic Garden

Journal | Monday, August 25, 2003 | #
Awesome, bodacious, botanical

It had been a year since my last visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I went yesterday morning with my dad and Joanne, before they went back to Maryland. Tucked amid a triangle of busy streets, this garden is the most peaceful spot in Brooklyn. For $5 ($2 more than last year!) you can stroll the perfectly landscaped grounds, browse the rose garden, watch the koi and turtles in the pond at the Japanese garden, and study bonsai trees up close. In the conservatory (with Professor Plum and the lead pipe... no, wait...), you can wander from a desert to a rain forest and see all the plants in each. The place feels like a zoo for plants, or maybe just a really pretty park. It would be a good spot for a picnic, except, oddly, the rules forbid any eating in the garden.

- Daryl

Journal | Sunday, August 24, 2003 | #
Tour guide

I'm still perfecting the ultimate fair-weather New York City tour for when my friends and family are visiting from out of town. I think we came pretty close yesterday with my dad and Joanne.

9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. - Ride Staten Island Ferry out and back.

11:00 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Go to top of Empire State Building.

1 p.m. - 3 p.m. - Lunch in food court of Grand Central Station. Sit and relax in Bryant Park.

3 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Ride to Yankee Statium for a baseball game. (Yankees lost! To Baltimore!!)

7 p.m. - 9 p.m. - Return to Brooklyn. Dinner at local pizza joint. Return home.

- Daryl

Journal | Saturday, August 23, 2003 | #
Language barrier

This is an actual conversation I had in a Brooklyn video store this week:

Me: Do you have Joz?
Video guy: What's that?
Me: You know, Joz.
Video guy: You mean like J-O-S-H?
Me: No, like J-A-W-S.
Video guy: Oh, Joo-awes! Yeah, I got that on tape.

... My dad and Joanne are visiting this weekend. Today we're off to see the Yankees beat the Orioles.

- Daryl

Journal | Friday, August 22, 2003 | #
The monstera mash

Behold the monstera. Someone at work brought in two of these giant fruits to share with the office. It looks like corn-on-the-cob, but it's green, it smells like suntan lotion, and it tastes like coconut, pineapple, and ginger. I ate two small, slimy pieces of monstera flesh and decided this wasn't for me. It's the stuff of nightmares. (Okay, not really.) ...

I just finished reading a great book about sharks. It's called "Close to Shore" by Michael Capuzzo. ...

Just in case no one has handed you a flyer in the subway yet: Howard Dean is appearing at a rally Tuesday evening in Bryant Park in Manhattan. I signed up to go because I want to hear him speak (it's free). According to his web site, 3,100 people are already signed up to go! Can that many people fit in Bryant Park?

- Daryl

Journal | Thursday, August 21, 2003 | #
Five questions about Combos

1. Do you eat Combos?

2. Do you have a favorite flavor of Combos?

3. Have you ever eaten Combos in your own home?

4. Have you ever seen Combos advertised anywhere?

5. Have you ever written "Combos" on a grocery list?

I'm betting that if you answered yes to the first question, you answered no to the next four. Such a mystery, these salty snacks. It seems like they're almost exclusively a car food, something you buy at a gas station. Of course, maybe I shouldn't waste my time thinking about Combos.

- Daryl

Journal | Wednesday, August 20, 2003 | #
Rock lobster

In New York, we miss out on a lot of the roadside generica that peppers vast portions of the rest of the country: Wal-Mart, Outback Steakhouse, Friendly's, etc. To be sure, Best Buy, Toys-'R-Us, and some other big-box stores have crept in lately, but we're still way behind in our chain restaurants. (Somehow, this city survives despite a shortage of chicken strips, fried cheese, and cheap margaritas.) When some of my coworkers drove to Long Island last weekend for a concert, they made it a special point to eat at — where else? — Red Lobster! I think they were being ironic. ...

Yesterday afternoon, between 3 and 5, I got e-mailed the Sobig.F worm virus 14 times. One more time, people: Stop opening e-mail attachments when you don't know what they are! This is a harmless virus for me, since I'm running the bomb-proof Mac OS X (smug look on my face). My real problem is each of these e-mails includes a 100K attachment, and they take a LONG time to download at 56K (smug look is gone now).

- Daryl

Journal | Tuesday, August 19, 2003 | #
Naked news

Who's in charge of photo selection at The New York Times? Seems like we're suddenly seeing a lot of naked people in the paper. In the Arts & Leisure section Sunday, they ran a story about porn, along with a quarter-page color photo of two topless women deep-kissing in a hot tub. It was a PG-13 picture, but still a little risqué for a newspaper. Then in the paper today, we get this story about the naked hiker in Britain, including a photo that only appears in the paper thanks to a strategically placed piece of underbrush. What's going on here? (And hey, why is the naked British hiker news? We have naked hikers on this continent, too!) ...

I got my power bill in the mail yesterday. Should I pay it?

- Daryl

Journal | Monday, August 18, 2003 | #
Mars attracts

We tipped our heads back and gazed at a starry, starry night over New York Thursday. With the lights out and the weather clear, the only impediment to a sky of stars was the blanket of air pollution coughed up by a million cars idling in gridlock all evening. It was still the best night of stargazing any of us have ever seen in the city. We tried to spot Mars at around 9 Thursday, but we were too early. The next night, even with the power back on, the red planet stood out in the sky; by midnight it had risen in the east and was nearly overhead. Mars and Earth are moving closer, and will be as close as they've been in 60,000 years on the 27th, a week from Wednesday. (Space.com has a good page to tell you about Mars and how to find it in the sky.) Take a good look now while we're so close to our neighboring planet, sharing a moment of intimacy before we drift apart in the vastness of space.

Update: I did some work on the site over the weekend, including a reorganized links page and three new recipes. Enjoy.

- Daryl

Journal | Sunday, August 17, 2003 | #
Films of New York

Thanks to the wonders of electricity, I rented and watched two movies about New York this weekend. The first was "Gangs of New York." I think Martin Scorsese must have a close business relationship with the fake blood industry. This is the most unnecessarily violent movie I've ever seen. It's also long, and includes too many scenes in which the characters, speaking in hushed whispers, drone on about events that already happened in the movie, just to be sure we haven't forgotten. My short attention span couldn't handle this, so I fast-forwarded through much of this film and didn't finish it.

The other DVD I rented was "Phone Booth," a good thriller, and mercifully short and simple. Through the whole second half of the movie, I kept trying to guess what the twist would be. I was thinking about "Fight Club," "The Usual Suspects," or "The Sixth Sense" — all movies that have that moment when you, the viewer, realize you've been duped into making a wrong conclusion. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying that Phone Booth has no twist. Everything in the story is true at face value. Bummer. At the very least, it's fun to hear Kiefer Sutherland portraying a deranged psycho killer in this movie, and then hear his voice announcing the station IDs on Blink 102.7 FM. And both these movies gave me a chance to stay in and enjoy another wonder of electricty: air conditioning.

- Daryl

Journal | Saturday, August 16, 2003 | #
We've got the power

Overnight, electricity came back on all over the last parts of city that had been blacked out. I rode the subway to a doctor's appointment this morning, and everything felt normal in Manhattan. From Thursday to Friday, New York City handled this strange emergency with grace. A chalkboard sign at coffee shop in my neighborhood summed up the situation rather nicely: "Like water off a duck's back." We're all back to our routine, but suddenly we've become experts on electricity, an everyday miracle we rarely thought much about before. Here are some other everyday electric miracles we appreciate more than before:

  • Lights
  • Trains
  • Elevators
  • Air conditioning
  • Refrigerators
  • Traffic signals
  • Cash machines
  • Television
...Not to forget the things that didn't fail us:
  • Harbor lights, including those on the Statue of Liberty
  • Buses and ferries
  • Old-school telephones
  • The Internet
  • Battery-powered radios
  • The water supply
  • Candles
  • Neighbors and friends

- Daryl

Journal | Friday, August 15, 2003 - 12 p.m. | #
Power struggle

What a strange world this becomes when our electricity fails! I rode my bike into Manhattan this morning, partly out of the off-chance that my office was open, and partly out of morbid curiosity. Here's what I know: All the Brooklyn neighborhoods between Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights have power, though my coworker David in Fort Greene says his power is out. Brooklyn traffic is gridlock, in no small part due to long lines at gas stations. On the other side of the river, Manhattan is dark. I biked through lower Manhattan, Tribeca, the West Village and part of Chelsea, and saw no power anywhere. Cops are out at the major intersections to direct traffic. I ran into Jess, also riding a bike, who said she heard there's power on at her office in Times Square. Phones seem to be mostly working. Buses are running. The Daily News has a special edition out, but I couldn't find the Times for sale anywhere. City Hall is surrounded by TV sat trucks, all under generator power. I saw newscaster Ashleigh Banfield (♥!) but was too bashful to approach her.

Work isn't my idea of fun, but I have a hard time dealing with unexpected days off with nothing to do. I get antsy when I sit around... hence my effort to bike around town, update this web site, organize my desk, etc. Yesterday, despite the challenge to get home and survive in the dark, was somewhat fun. I called some people I cared about on the phone and checked on them. I walked down to an ice cream truck, where I ran into Christel and loaned her my battery-powered radio. But today, crisis mode is over and this situation is simply annoying. Can't drive anywhere. It's hot as an oven. I've already been for a bike ride. I invited some friends over to hang out tonight, but I'm not sure if anybody will show up.

- Daryl

Journal | Friday, August 15, 2003 - 8:20 a.m. | #
We look great in black

My power came back at about 4:15 this morning. The TV and radio says subways are still down, so I'm heading to work (?) this morning by bike. I'm not even sure if my office is open, since our phones are still screwy. I went out this morning to buy a paper and a gallon of milk from my corner store, the only place around that's open. "I appreciate that you're open," I told the clerk. "Everybody else around here is closed." He smiled back. "It is our pleasure, sir."

- Daryl

Journal | Thursday, August 14, 2003 - 8:15 p.m. | #
Blackout '03

I was at work when everything shut off, at about 4:15 this afternoon. I was doing some magazine research. I heard the AC stop, and everyone gasped as their work vanished from their computer screens. One of my coworkers, Paul, who was on the phone with someone upstate, announced that this other person's power was also out. We went over the the window and saw the traffic lights were dark, and small puffs of smoke were rising from rooftops — emergency generators firing up. After 20 minutes or so, we left via the emergency stairs and scattered in our various directions. Me, I walked a little way downtown, boarded a bus with my coworker Rebecca. We sat in traffic for half an hour before realizing how futile that was. The only way home was on foot. Along the way, everything was off, both literally and figuratively. Dogs barked. Ambulances went the wrong way on the streets. And everywhere, the pedestrian ruled. I crossed the Manhattan Bridge on the lower deck (in the shade!), which was filled with people instead of cars. News helicopters hovered overhead, broadcasting pictures to that virtually no one in New York could see. Also on the bridge, three subway trains were stalled, ghostly, silent and empty. At the Manhattan end of the bridge, some people were still emerging from the tunnels, where all trains had stopped down below.

On my portable radio, I heard Mayor Bloomberg say most everything was fine, but there were still people trapped in elevators, and one hospital in Brooklyn was without power. He also briefly mentioned the Canadian tourist who made headlines a week or two ago when she was violently assaulted on her first visit to New York. Moved by her story, many city businesses had invited her to come back to New York, offering her free meals and hotel rooms. The mayor offered to take her out to dinner. She accepted the mayors offer, and returned with the hope a better New York experience — today!

My walk took more than two hours. Now I'm at home, typing by battery, wondering when the power will return.

- Daryl

Journal | Thursday, August 14, 2003 | #
Vanilla II: Son of Vanilla

Pepsi put a new soft drink on sale this week: Pepsi Vanilla. (Note the noun-before-adjective construction to distinguish it from Vanilla Coke.) Eager to try it, I found a bottle of PV for sale at a Gristede's in Manhattan yesterday. On first taste, two things about this soft drink stand out: First, it seems less sweet and generally less flavorful than Vanilla Coke. Second, I can't believe how much it tastes like regular Pepsi. *Sigh.* Let's face it, Pepsi is late to this vanilla party. Vanilla Coke is a big success with consumers, but this knock-off just doesn't cut it. I still think Pepsi Twist is the best flavor of the Pepsi family, but I've noticed it's getting more difficult to find lately. I hope the bottlers aren't phasing it out for this new vanilla drink. That would be an idea bad.

- Daryl

Journal | Wednesday, August 13, 2003 | #
How to ruin a brilliant film

I just learned that Paramount is re-making of one of my favorite movies, The Manchurian Candidate. Denzel Washington is cast in the role Frank Sinatra played in the 1962 original. Meryl Streep will play Angela Lansbury's role as the villainous senator's wife. Location shooting is scheduled in New York from October to December, according to the city film office. (More.) To remake this movie is to juggle chainsaws. Just one example: The climax of the original Cold-War-era Manchurian Candidate follows Frank Sinatra as he dashes through Madison Square Garden to foil the assassination of a presidential candidate at a fictitious Republican National Convention. This remake is supposed to come out in Fall 2004, just as the real Republican National Convention will be re-nominating President Bush — at Madison Square Garden! Yikes! ...

My brother and I went to the 79th Street Boat Basin last night, a laid-back outdoor café on the Hudson River. It's a place that's easy to find (1/9 train to 79th Street, and just walk down to the water) but not a place you'd ever stumble across by accident since it's buried beneath a traffic roundabout. It's a summer place, casual and somewhat un-New-York-like. Worth a trip.

- Daryl

Journal | Tuesday, August 12, 2003 | #
Down by the water

Gerritt met me after work yesterday and we went out to eat at an Italian restaurant near my office. After that, we went to the Frying Pan, a historic lighthouse boat which has been docked and is used as part of a bar on pier 63 in Chelsea. The bar is on an old barge, but you can walk onto the Frying Pan boat and sit on it if you want. We said hi to my boss and the CEO of the company, who were also randomly out on the barge to enjoy a drink....

New word I heard used recently: faux-hawk. It means a haircut that's obviously trying to evoke a mohawk, but without the commitment to shaving most of one's head and growing the middle out....

For some good reading, here's a fascinating newspaper story about credit bureaus and identity theft.

- Daryl

Journal | Monday, August 11, 2003 | #
Great apes

As far as zoos go, the Bronx zoo is supposed to be one of the best. Gerritt and I rode the 5 train to the Bronx yesterday and spent several hours looking at the animals. We especially enjoyed the habitats that featured big cats; the new Tiger Mountain display is excellent. (I bet Sterling would have enjoyed it, too.) The Congo Gorilla Forest is another example of great zoo design. Over and over, this zoo brings you face-to-face with amazing animals — not in cages behind bars, but in forests behind glass, or just on open fields surrounded by moats. The zoo is far away from Brooklyn, but worth the trip on a nice Sunday afternoon.

- Daryl

Journal | Sunday, August 10, 2003 | #
Good music, bad concert

My brother and I went to see the Bob Dylan and Tom Petty concert last night at PNC Center in New Jersey. The difference between the two sets (Dylan was first) was that Bob Dylan played a bunch of songs no one had heard before, and Tom Petty played songs everybody could sing along to. As such, the Petty part of the concert was a lot more fun. But PNC, despite being a new facility, isn't a pleasant place to see a show. Parking is a disaster. The views from the lawn (where we were) aren't very good. There aren't nearly enough bathrooms to accommodate a large crowd. Somehow — and I don't want to blame this on New Jersey — the concert drew a surprising number of big sweaty drunk guys looking for trouble. Then, halfway through the Petty set, it began to pour rain.

I had told Gerritt earlier that if "Freefalling" was one of the first five songs, we could leave after that. It was song five. We stuck around for a few more, standing in the muddy lawn as we sung along to Tom Petty's beautiful songs about being young and American and all mixed up. We even heard him tell a little story that began,"Once upon a time there was a band called the Traveling Willburys..." By then we were soaked, and we certainly didn't like the idea of battling drunken sweaty guys and parking anarchy to get back to our car and onto the Parkway. We left early. The consolation is that Gerritt had seen both Bob Dylan and Tom Petty before, and I had seen Tom Petty once, so we didn't miss anything.

- Daryl

Journal | Saturday, August 9, 2003 | #
Another busy weekend

I met up with a friend from work last night and ended up hanging out with the entire closing staff of the South Street Seaport Gap (who knew it took like 15 people to run a Gap on a Friday night?) and going to some kind of gay 80s dance club. It's nice to wander out without a plan and end up someplace ridiculous. Where will I end up next? What will the day bring?

Perhaps Holmdel, New Jersey? Today Gerritt is coming into the city, and we're taking the GSP to the PNC for a Bob Dylan/Tom Petty concert. This will be great fun. For now, I've got to get my apartment cleaned up for my bro.

- Daryl

Journal | Friday, August 8, 2003 | #
Don't let the bed bugs bite

On garbage collection days, people love to comb through the curbside trash in search of treasures. One recent afternoon, I was walking on a street in Brooklyn and saw a large mattress and boxspring someone had set out for pickup. Both appeared to be in good condition. Immediately, my brain ticked off several questions. Why was this bed given up for trash? What's wrong with it? Why hasn't someone come by and claimed it yet? A second later, I saw a handwritten note taped to the mattress that explained everything. The note simply said: "BUGS!" ...

Let's make something clear. It is now officially cliché to call Arnold Schwarzenegger the "Running Man" or to describe his campaign with the phrase "Total Recall." Local TV newscasters take note. ...

Here are two great ways to waste time online. Smart: Powers of Ten. Stupid: Singing horses.

- Daryl

Journal | Thursday, August 7, 2003 | #
Stuck in the bus station

I'm a sucker for phone calls from the blood bank, which is how I found myself at the blood center inside the Port Authority bus terminal yesterday evening. (Port Authority is the fanciest bus station I've ever seen, which makes it only a notch fancier than your average bowling alley.) After the run-down of embarrassing questions about where I've traveled and whom I've had sex with, I braced for the needle. I've done this before. I'm a tough guy. But the needle guy had some trouble. He tried to find my vein with his fingers, and, satisfied, stuck me. It didn't take. He tried again. He moved the needle around a bit, commenting on how much muscle I had. Riiiight. It began to hurt more and more. Finally, he said he got it, and let go. I watched the tube turn deep red as my blood flowed into a bag. That's the grossest part, really, but once that starts, the pain goes away.

Well, it's supposed to go away. My arm kept feeling bad. I sat back, watched a rerun of Oprah on TV55, squeezed the little ball in my fist every ten seconds, and prayed for time to pass. What felt like seven hours later (but was probably more like ten minutes), one of the blood bank guys came over to inspect my arm. "He's stopped bleeding," he announced. The other guy came over and pulled the needle out of my arm. "Was that enough?" I asked him. "No," he said quietly. He didn't say anything more, but I knew what he meant. Since I couldn't fill a pint, my blood donation is unusable and won't do anybody any good. That sucks more than having a sore arm. I could tell this guy was mad at himself for having botched my blood donation. I gulped down some juice and cookies and left, feeling light-headed. On the way out of the Port Authority, I bought a box of Band-Aids at the Duane Reede and re-bandaged my arm in the mens room, hoping to assuage the pain. As I began to take off the gauze, blood suddenly shot from my arm. And that's the story of how I ended up nursing a needle puncture while leaning over a bathroom sink in the Port Authority.

- Daryl

Journal | Wednesday, August 6, 2003 | #
Have you forgotten?

I thought you all might enjoy seeing a picture of the blizzard from February, as a little reminder that it's not always this gross and humid around here. Take heart! It will be winter before you know it!

- Daryl

Journal | Tuesday, August 5, 2003 | #
A gay old time

Other than celebrities dying, the biggest story this summer has been the rapidly changing dialogue on gay rights. Lets see... The Supreme Court struck down the Texas sodomy law. Canada legalized gay marraige. Wal-Mart agreed to provide domestic partner benefits to its employees. Those crazy Episcopalians might be about to elect their first gay bishop. Maureen Dowd is back to writing funny columns again. This week alone, "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" is on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, and Howard Dean — who signed Vermont's first-in-the-U.S. civil union law — is on the cover of all three big newsweeklies.

Maybe people are so sick of mulling over the war in Iraq that they crave a lively debate about something else. The Pope, the president, and some members of congress have found it necessary this summer to re-declare their opposition to gay marraige. (Everyone who's ever sat through a Lutheran confirmation class probably cringed when they heard Bill Frist declare marraige a "sacrament.") It's fair for people to have differing opinions on this, but I say be suspicious of any lawmaker who opposes gay unions on the grounds that they hurt the institution of marraige. If these legislators were truly concerned about marraiges, they'd try to outlaw divorce, yes?

Of course, New York has totally warped my perspective on all this. I wonder what people are saying about this in places like central Pennsylvania... if they're saying anything at all.

- Daryl

Journal | Monday, August 4, 2003 | #

Sunday I rode my bike to Canal Street, Manhattan's chaotic bazaar, to buy a new watch. After a bit of wandering, I narrowed my choices to two: I could spend $12 for a $60 watch, or $40 for a $200 watch. I decided on the cheaper of the two bootlegs because it was simpler and less show-offish. Plus if I'm buying a junk watch, I might as well spend as little as possible.

Photo: A Chinatown streetcorner, seen from the Manhattan Bridge.

- Daryl

Journal | Sunday, August 3, 2003 | #
Just a slow summer weekend

Yesterday, I got my paperwork together to apply for a tourist visa to India and mailed it in to the consulate. After that, I rode my bike over to City Hall Park, the closest park with free WiFi access. I set up my computer on a bench to surf the Internet and download some music with the free high-speed connection. (Once again, I find a reason to put off getting broadband installed in my apartment.) Later in the day, Christel and I walked over to Prospect Park and sat on the meadow playing Scrabble. Today, I might bike into the city again and do some shopping. It's amazing how sunny weather can dictate the course of my weekends.

- Daryl

Journal | Saturday, August 2, 2003 | #
Destination: subcontinent

I have some big news to share. Yesterday after work I went to a travel agent and bought myself a ticket to Delhi, India. I haven't taken a real vacation in more than two years and I'm very excited to travel to Asia. My trip lasts for a week-and-a-half in October. I'll be traveling by myself, but as part of a guided tour. Click here for a description of my trip.

Last night some friends and I went to the Brooklyn Brewery for their beer tasting. The brewery is a mass-production brewery in Greenpoint. On Friday nights, the factory invites the public to come in and hang out in a big concrete room filled with picnic tables. Six or seven different kinds of Brooklyn beer are on tap, with two drinks for $5. Some people bring in pizzas and board games. The brewery cat, Monster, hangs around, too. It's a fun place, though it's only open for very limited hours (Fridays 6 to 10).

- Daryl

Journal | Friday, August 1, 2003 | #
Food, clothing, and subways

They tell us that humankind took a while to get our basic needs in order; only then could we grow from hunter-gatherer nomad people into farmers and city folk. Even then, with everybody working so hard, it took thousands of years for us to actually have "leisure time" and thus be able to create art, explore the world, invent things, build web sites, and so on.

We can apply a similar concept on a micro level, too. If each of us doesn't have our basic needs provided for, we can't do much to enrich our lives. Now I may be overreaching, but I think it's also a good way to think about New York. It takes months to get a good grip on the basic survival tools: the transit system, stores, banks, take-out food, alternate-side parking rules. But once you get a grip on all that, and you automatically know which exit to take out of each subway station, that frees up a lot of energy to deal with other matters. Instead of worrying about trains and food and where the closest ATM is, you can worry about making friends, having fun, and learning about the world. Perhaps that explains why people who have been in New York for a while get irresistible urges to create art, explore the world, invent things, and build web sites.

- Daryl

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E-mail daryl@daryllang.com

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