August 8th, 2002

New York City

I'm a person who's impressed by big skylines, and after I left Penn Station in the taxi for Jonathan and Naomi I saw them. I have, mounted on my wall, three profiles at night or late evening, of the Manhattan skyline. (Two, alas, feature the World Trade Centre towers prominently, but that's more a reminder than a pain for me.) We went to an Indonesian restaurant.

Jonathan and Naomi weren't much different from the ways I imagined them. Naomi was the same ebuillient person I knew over E-mail, as was Jonathan in his different way. I'd expected Jonathan to be a bit taller, but then so did many of the other posters on soc.history.what-if. They were both quite friendly people, people with whom I enjoyed chatting the evening away.(With Jonathan, I talked until 1:30 until we each became somewhat incoherent.) Their apartment, in Kew Gardens, is a very attractive space.

Oh, and their cat. Dusty is a heavy cat (17 pounds), covered in dark grey fur and preternaturally friendly. He likes getting scratched by people with gentle hands, he likes climbing on people, he likes licking people's hands (!)--in short, Dusty is a dog reincarnated in a cat's body, and he doesn't seem to have any problems with this. He's an attractive feline, quite cute. I'm happy I took the photos, although I'm still vaguely upset that I didn't get one of him curled up in a sink.

Jonathan and Naomi were excellent guides, taking me to FAO Schwarz, the Central Park Children's Zoo, the Empire State Building, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (I saw rongorongo tablets!), the Circle Line cruise around Manhattan island, Naomi's friend's birthday party at an excellent Chinese restaurant, and more. I only had the chance to be in New York City for three full days, which was a shame; there's so much more to do in New York City than I had the chance to do. But then, it was only three days, I was tired, and it's not like it was my only chance to visit New York City.

(One side note: I gave Tom a CD of Lennie Gallant's live performances, and I turned Jonathan on to PEI's own Barachois, misfiled in the Tower Records on 66th Street under Quebec. Should I get funding from the PEI government for my promotion of Island musicians?)

Friday evening, I met with the soc.history.what-if TINC (This Is Not a Cabal), some of the posters on soc.history.what-if who get together semi-regularly, often in New York, to just sit down and chat about things and alternate history. Doug Muir (briefly with his wife and son), Stephen Lazer, Carlos Yu, Walter Strapps, and--of course--Jonathan and myself. SHWI really is an interesting community with a high calibre of posters--good writers, good researchers, incredibly knowledgeable, quite generous. All of my hosts, I met on SHWi and affiliated forums; without SHWI, I'd've been much worse off. So, we met at the sumptuous Yale Club, talked, went over for some pizza at a nearby restaurant, and then up to the Club's members-only library before breaking at 11:30. it was fun.

Sunday evening, before I left for LaGuardia in the morning, I went to meet my cousin Derrick, a post-graduate student at Columbia. He's gay; more importantly, even before recent events I'd respected him as a model for academic/scholastic achievement. (Very good thesis on the role of the late medieval/early modern passion play in York, England, in reflecting contemporary sociodemographic mores over time.) We met at the 116th street subway station. He showed me around Columbia campus (very nice, the original King's College--it was later reestablished in Halifax after the War of American Independence) and then we went to eat Mexican food before going off to have a drink at a neighbourhood gay bar, Saints. I enjoyed talking with Derrick--it's good to get perspective. Relationships and sex are still foreign territories to me, but rather less foreign than I'd expected.

My return to PEI the next day was anti-climactic. I went out to wait for the shuttle at 8:20 local time, arrived at LaGuardia at 9:30, went and had lunch and sent some E-mails before droppingh off my luggage, and finally boarding my flight at 3:00. (The search beforehand was interesting; the security guard checked my shoes.) Arrival at Mirabel in Montréal at 4:00. A brief scare--I must have been tired, and I left first my wallet then my tickets at Gate 1 of domestic departures. I'm just happy I lost nothing. The flight to Moncton was eventful, thanks to a thunderstorm that lit up the sky around us and a landing delayed 25 minutes, until just before 10.

And then, two hours of driving to home.
  • Current Music
    Peter Gabriel, "Love to be Loved"

Academia and More!

I met with Dr. MacLaine--my faculty advisor on my Honours English essay, someone I respect professionally and go so far as to call a friend--today at 9 o'clock. After telling him, briefly, about my trip, I came out to him as bi. Derrick had recommended I do that, as a sign of personal respect and professional courtesy (I was exceptionally distracted and rather distressed last semester, for obvious reasons). He took it quite well, which is nice. Afterwards, we talked more about my Honours essay, and then about his research on the intersection of photography (still images) and fiction. I'll be getting a $500 research assistant grant, so apart from the intrinsic interest of the topic that's good.

One interesting thing: I was looking for a library book I took out, put out on Czechoslovakia in the early 1920's when Czechoslovaks could seemingly count on a prosperous future. (I shudder to think how much it could cost if I don't find it.) I went up to the History department lounge to see if I might have left it there, when who did I bump into but Dr. David Woolner, my instructor in my first year (European history 201 and 202). It was nice to bump into him, say hi, and have a little chat. Full circle? (Or at least more than 180 degrees?)

I'll be going to see Goldmember tonight, hopefully with Steve (and possibly with Steve's boyfriend Cory). I'll write about how it goes.


I saw Goldmember at the local movie theatre tonight. I was going to watch it with Steve, but he was late--having dinner with his family and boyfriend at a local Chinese buffet restaurant--and ended up sitting separately from me. He

The movie was good. There were nice celebrity cameos aplenty--Britney Spears was interesting, Spielburg's star-studded Austinpussy movie-within-a-movie clever, and I like Seth Green from his role as Oz on Buffy, and Mike Myers is truly a comedic genius--but it felt flat to me. The old gags (Fat Bastard's toilet humour, the shadow-puppet scenes, Mini-Me, commercials, sight gags, and so on) were reused well, but they were still reused. I enjoyed seeing it, but I won't see it again.

Next up: Signs.
  • Current Music
    Tori Amos, "In the Springtime of his Voodoo" (Sugar Dub)