September 2001

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September 18, 2001:  And so the emails keep pouring in.  This song was sent in from my friend Alex Tan who lives up in Canada.  The lyrics are beautiful... I can't wait to hear the song:

The Change
Garth Brooks

One hand 
Reaches out 
And pulls a lost soul from harm 
While a thousand more 
Go unspoken for 
They say what good have you done 
By saving just this one 
It's like whispering a prayer 
In the fury of a storm 

And I hear them saying you'll never change things 
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing 
But it's not the world that I am changing 
I do this so this world will know 
that it will not change me 

This heart 
Still believes 
That love and mercy still exist 
While all the hatreds rage and so many say 
That love is all but pointless in madness such as this 
It's like trying to stop a fire 
With the moisture of a kiss 

And I hear them saying you'll never change things 
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing 
But it's not the world that I am changing 
I do this so this world will know 
That it will not change me 

As long as one heart still holds on 
Then hope is never really gone 

I hear them saying you'll never change things 
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing 
But it's not the world that I am changing 
I do this so this world we know 
Never changes me 

What I do is so 
This world will know 
That it will not change me 

:-)

and one of my co-workers sent along this:

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; 
whom should I fear? 
The Lord is my life's refuge: 
of whom should I be afraid?" 
Psalm 27:1 

Yep, lots of good energy flowing today :)

~Penz

September 17, 2001:

Today was a pretty good day.  Work was very busy and that helped me keep my mind off things.  The day pretty much flew by and that was nice :)

I got my new Hella Horns for my car.  Hehehe, of course, I wait until twilight to begin installing them and end up w/Justin holding the flashlight so that I could finish putting them in.  All in all, it wasn't too bad and they sound kick ass :)

One of my closest friends sent me an email today that sent a chill down my spine.. maybe it hit a little too close to home.  Here is an excerpt:

"I've never feared death, I have never been afraid to shut my eyes at night with the thoughts that my world could be gone in the morning.  That has all changed. I still don't fear death, but I fear the loss of my loved ones. 

The thoughts running through my head are tremendous.  For this could be the next world war.  I could have to fight for my country of  which I would do without a second thought, but I have totally reevaluated everything. 

it was enough dealing with everything before last Tuesday...

Meanwhile, Adam "Skinny Daug" Arnold sends me the lyrics to this well known tune that now seems to take on a whole different meaning.....

The World I Know
Collective Soul

Has our conscience shown? 
Has the sweet breeze blown? 
Has all the kindness gone? 
Hope still lingers on. 
I drink myself of newfound pity 
Sitting alone in New York City 
And I don't know why. 

Are we listening 
To hymns of offering? 
Have we eyes to see 
That love is gathering? 
All the words that I've been reading 
Have now started the act of bleeding 
Into one. 

So I walk up on high 
And I step to the edge 
To see my world below. 
And I laugh at myself 
As the tears roll down. 
'Cause it's the world I know. 
It's the world I know.

And so tonight, I leave you with some thoughts that I started this day with:

Let us hope and pray that our leaders and this great nation as a whole, continues to be strong and to use our minds and our hearts to make the  tough decisions that are going to follow in the days/weeks/months to come. 

Let us pray that we have the strength not to give in to hatred and anger, which is exactly what our enemies would like us to do.  Let us pray that when this is all over, the world will look at us and truly see forest for the trees... that we are one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all! 

~Penz
 

September 16, 2001:  And now, we prepare for war... and I'm afraid.  I'm afraid that this is truly going to be the beginning of the end of the way of life that we've come to enjoy and to cherish.  I'm afraid that this great country is at jeopardy to lose a lot of sons and daughters to war..... I'm afraid of how these terrorists will retaliate... will it be through biological or chemical warfare?  It would make sense.  Both are inexpensive ways to attack our great nation and inflict a lasting festering wound upon us.  Thousands....millions!?!  are at risk.

Fuck.

Sorry to be such a downer, but this is all part of today's world and something that we must be ready for.  We must be ready to go into this war and know that the soil upon which blood has been and will continue to be shed, is US soil.  It's going to get a lot worse, before it gets better, if we as a nation or a government aren't careful.

This event has impacted our great nation and this world in an unforgettable way.  While we reflect on the tragedy that this country has suffered, let's looks at the other countries that lost loved ones in the World Trade Center attack:

International casualties in the "attack on america" (preliminary official figures): 

Argentina: 2 missing
Australia: 9 confirmed dead, 85 missing
Bangladesh: 50 confirmed, more missing
Brazil: 5 missing
Canada: 100 missing (est)
Chile: 1 missing
China: 3 confirmed, 30 missing
Colombia: 2 confirmed, 116 missing
Denmark: 15 missing
Dominican Republic: 3 missing
Egypt: 1 confirmed, 3 missing
El Salvador: 1 confirmed, 18 missing
Finland: 41 missing
France: a "small number" missing
Germany: 4 confirmed, 700 missing
Great Britain: 100 confirmed, 400 missing (est)
India: 250 missing
Indonesia: 1 confirmed, 1 missing
Ireland: 4 confirmed
Israel: 150 missing
Italy: 7 missing
Japan: 2 confirmed, 100 missing
Lebanon: 1 confirmed, 2 missing
Malaysia: 7 missing
Mexico: 150-500 missing (est)
Norway: 15 missing
Paraguay: 2 missing
Peru: 5 missing
Philippines: 7 missing
Portugal: 3 confirmed, 20 missing
South Africa: 1 confirmed, 2 missing
South Korea: 1 confirmed, 27 missing
Spain: 9 missing
Sweden: 1 missing
Switzerland: 4 confirmed, 10 missing
Taiwan: 9 missing
Zimbabwe: 6 missing 

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this list, but it seems reasonable and came from:

http://hem.passagen.se/eff/2001_09_01_bot-archive.htm#5703994

Also, before you go and start hating the people of Afghanistan, I STRONGLY recommend you read this article:  http://davenet.userland.com/2001/09/14/tamimAnsaryOnAfghanistan

It gives a good perspective on the people of Afghanistan and how they are the victims of the Taliban and Ben Laden as well. Pass it along.

Also, to help keep things in perspective, check out:  http://davenet.userland.com   He's an extremely intelligent person, who happens to be a pacifist and has written some interesting articles.  Though I've already oiled up my gun and am preparing an escape plan from the Bay Area ... just in case ... it's good to keep an open mind right now.

And so, with all that..... I'm going to hook up w/some friends today and have some fun and get out of the house.  Life's short.... enjoy it.

~Penz

September 13, 2001: (7:30 PST)  I've heard from so many people today and it's amazing how a tragedy like this can bring people together.  Thanks to all of you who have written.  Hello out there to:

Willie James, out in VA.  He was just 2 miles away from the Pentagon and actually felt the shock waves when the plane hit.  He's doing ok, and sends his prayers and wishes to all around.

Jim Hynek, Fire Fighter in New Haven, CT.  He and his fellow brothers stand ready to head to NY to help out in anyway they can.

Blandon Ray, works at a children's hospital in DC.  They were expecting to have casualties but thankfully, the day care center near the WTC was not hit.  He is ok and doing well.

Josh Smith and Alex McCabe, both were in DC at the time of the crash.  Both have been able to get out of the city and head back home.  Josh has arrived safely back in NH.  Alex just made it back home around midnight tonight.

Travis Nelson and Scott Sczypien, both in the USAF.  They stand ready to deploy overseas at a moments notice.  Anxious to do their part, my prayers are with them.

Steve Mayou, in the USN is on a 4 hour call to return to his LA Class Nuclear Sub.  They are ready to go...

Becky and Lisa, who today had to go to Graham's apartment and get it ready for his parents.  To sift through the personal items of a close friend, now departed onto another journey...another life.  My heart goes out to you....

It's getting close to 8:00 PM PST.  It's time to light our candles and place them outside and in our windows.  The flag hangs proudly over the patio... the red, white and blue capturing the last rays of the sun, as another comes to an end in America......  God Bless America.... God Bless Us All.

~Penz

(12:30 PM)  From my friend Carl who lives in NYC:

"....i feel for your loss. i feel very lucky indeed for i work in the general area of downtown. walking home over the williamsburg bridge was like being a refugee, thousands of people leaving the city, caring their children, pouring water over their heads to stay cool, radios sending out the latest as we walk.....if there is a hell, we walked, each of us through hell in time. do take care and be safe.  ...cb"

yes folks.... we are at war..... ~Penz
 

(11:30 am)  My brother Tim sent me this beautiful poem, which is up on his web site:

National Prayer

Lord, we come to You on bended knee,
heads bowed and our hearts filled to overflowing
with so much grief for the many people who have 
been injured and killed in our National crisis.

We ask you Lord, to give courage
and strength to those who so bravely
go to their aid. And though their hearts will
be heavy and filled with sorrow we ask Lord
that You give them the endurance needed
to help them through this difficult task.

Please give us the strength Lord,
to get through each difficult and devastating
day that faces each of us and our country. 
Protect and guide our Military that 
are now being called to duty.

We ask Lord, that You guide the leaders
of our great country in their hour of decision.
The burden that has been placed on their 
shoulders during this crisis is overwhelming.
We ask that with Your infinite wisdom you
guide them gently to the right decisions.

And lastly Lord, we ask that you 
allow us all to come together as a Nation,
to stand tall and united, so that we might
help each other in our hour of need.

Amen

Last night I talked with Brian Mobbs, who's out in NJ.  He recently moved out of Manhattan, has a few friends who worked at the WTC, and thank God, are all OK.

and here is a kind note sent out today from Mr. Jimmy Buffett:

"Dear Parrot Heads,

We have postponed our shows in the Indianapolis and Chicago areas this week simply because I feel it is time to for all of us to be with our families and friends, and take stock of all the events that occurred
yesterday and their repercussions. I have been the purveyor of many good nights of fun across this country but I feel that now is not the time to dance. To all our fans I would simply say do what you can in this serious and tragic hour, from donating blood to talking to your children. 

Lord Buckley, the great old hip comedian, once said, "Terror is the absence of humor, and humor is the absence of terror." Our sense of humor is one of our most precious natural resources as Americans, and we will put this tragedy behind us and dance again. And when we do, Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefer band will be there to lead the parade. 

Until then, keep your fins up and God Bless America.

Jimmy Buffett
Chicago, Illinois
September 12, 2001"

~Penz
 

September 12, 2001:  A special thanks to Becky and Lisa for sending me this awesome picture of Graham (see below), which truly captures his spirit.  Just look at that smile...  need  I say anything more?

September 11, 2001:  (9:57 pm PST): Just as I get ready to go to bed, I get a return call from United Airlines.  I wanted to hear the news from them. To add a bit of 'reality' to it all.  They confirmed that Graham was on United Flight 175 today......  God help us all......


(2:30 pm)  I just got a call from Becky.  Oh my God...... our friend, Graham Berkeley, was on United Airlines flight 175, which was the hijacked aircraft that crashed into the second World Trade Center Tower.... I can't even begin to tell you of how much of an exceptional human being Graham was.....  I'm totally numb... I can't believe that this has happened...

(12:30 pm) I get a phone call at 6:50 am PST from my brother.  "Turn on the TV!!  We're under attack" he says.....Oh my God.... what has happened.....!?!?!  Today is a nightmare come true for our great country.  Attacked by cowards of the lowest kind, tens of thousands of people were murdered today when 4 high jacked aircraft were used as instruments of destruction and terrorism.  Two of them were flown into the Twin Towers in NYC, another into the Pentagon, and the last one, into the earth just outside of Pittsburgh, PA.

There is chaos.  I am disoriented... in a state of shock and disbelief....  How can this happen!?!?!  How could people do this to one another!?!  How could this happen.... here?

FYI, Alex McCabe and Josh Smith are two of my friends who are in Washington, DC.  They are both OK and are attempting to get the hell out of the city.

I'm too overwhelmed to write at this time.... 

"I've ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed  this act. 

Terrorism against our nation will not stand." 

President George W. Bush

~Penz
 

September 10, 2001:   Well, it was a good weekend.  On Friday night I hung out with my friend Dave up in San Francisco. We did dinner down at Pizzeria Uno's off of Lombard Street and otherwise just had a good time hanging out.  The next day, Justin and I spent some time doing errands and running around and such.  That night, I went over and chilled at Rob and Susan's house in Atherton.  On the way over I had a great talk with Becky and Lisa back in MA.  Even though I woke them up, they were bright and cheerful as usual and provided me with that virtual hug I was looking for.  Hahaha, unlike Porky, who when I called him, was in a sleepy haze that he just couldn't escape.

On Sunday morning, Don (aka Hellpup), Kevin (aka Jeepboy), and Jase all made it over for a champagne brunch!  We did mimosa's, omelets (w/onions, roasted peppers, mushrooms and cheese), coffee, fresh danish and some very tasty homefries.  We spent the rest of the day lounging outside by the pool chatting away.  It was a very cool day!

Well, the musical fun continued this weekend as my bud Jase and I attended the Blink 182 "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket" tour at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA last night.  Once again, Jase hooked me up w/a ticket and this time, we got to "meet and greet" the band and get their autographs!  Here's the front and back of the sticker I had autographed by the band members:  Tom DeLonge - Guitar, Vocals | Mark Hoppus - Bass, Vocals | Travis Barker - Drums. 


Most cool!  The show kicked ass!  Hahahah, there was excessive use of FIRE, FIRE, FIRE throughout the show, which was great! (hehehehe, brings us back to the days of hard core 70's/80s rock), and the light show was very well done.  Travis did a kick ass drum solo on his rolling platform of fire and all in all, the band put on a great show.

And that, in a tiny coconut shell, it what's been going on in my life lately.  Hope you're doing well!  Drop a line when you get a chance :)

~Penz
 

September 6, 2001:  Hey!  Guess who I went to see last night!?! :-)

YEP!  I totally got hooked up with a ticket to go see Madonna by my good bud Jase.  He works for a music company in San Francisco through which he gets a lot of cool perks.  This was one of them, and he nicely invited me to go along with him to see the event.  The concert was pretty cool, and I'm totally psyched I didn't have the pay the $500+ that some were just to get in and see her.  As you can see above, the face value of the ticket is $95.  Crazy.  Hehehehe.... anyway, we had fun, it was a blast to see the show, and it will probably be my last Madonna concert :)

Now, this Sunday, we're supposed to go see Blink 182.... that should be fun!

Not much going on.  Life is good and I'm enjoying it.  Work is crazy/fun as usual and in a nutshell, that's about it for now.

Hope you're doing well!

~Penz

September 1, 2001:   Hello there my friends.  Well it's been a pretty busy and fun filled last couple of weeks..... so let's get started! :)

Over the last few months, Justin has been living with me (ever since I got back from Europe in May).  Though we had broken up before leaving, I told him that he could stay with me until he found a new place.  Well, long story short, after I came back from Europe, we kinda sorta got back together.  There were a few reasons for this, the least not being that my father had just passed away and I needed some type of stability in my life here in CA.  That, and the fact, that I truly do love him, even though it's probably not the most practical relationship to be in.

Well, things went well for the first 2 months, but over the past month, he started to become distant.  The more I tried to get closer to him, the father away he went.  Well, after playing this emotional game of cat and mouse, we finally were able to talk on the e night of August 23,  Long story short, Justin had fallen out of love with me, though he still loves me as a friend.  I can appreciate this this, and I don't hold any resentment towards him, other than the fact that this is the second time we've broken up!  Heheheh, <sigh>.... it's ok.  He's a point in his life where he doesn't want to be in a relationship with anyone and is just trying to find himself.  He's grateful for me being there for him, and I know this to be sincere.  BUT, it's time for him to move out and on in the world.  He's currently looking for a new place to live with one of his friends, and hopefully, he'll be out of mine in w/in 2 weeks.

So, how am I doing with all this?  Pretty well!  Since it's my second time around, I was a bit more prepared in the matters of dealing with my heart.  Ha, that's not to say it didn't (doesn't) hurt, but not as much as the first time.  Plus, I know this is the right thing for both of us.  Honestly, I need to find someone who is on leveler playing ground with me financially, experience wise, and 'life' wise because it's a tough (and sometimes unfair) game otherwise. 

Thanks once again to all of my friends and family for being there for me.  The smiles,  laughter, and advice you've provided are most appreciated.

Life at work (Avaya Inc.) is very interesting.  We recently just went through a major reduction in workforce (that's LAYOFFS for the common, sensible man :).  Due to that, the company is in the midst of restructuring and reorganizing itself.  The CRM Solutions Team that I'm a team member on, is part of the Technical Support Organization.  Well, our team is going to merge with another team which is 5 times bigger than our 50 person group.  The interesting thing is that both groups have a vice president, and in the end, 'there can be only one' (said in the voice of Conner McCloud from the movie Highlander :).  I really like our VP and hope that she gets the position.  I have a lot of respect for her, trust her, and appreciate her style of management.  It'll be interesting to see what happens as it's going to directly affect me.  Though I can't get into the details now, let's just say that my job position will probably change in a positive way if she takes over the new team, and is she doesn't, I may have another interesting opportunity which could take me out of CA.  That's all I'll say for now, but I'll keep you posted over the next few weeks.  By Sept. 15, I should have a better idea of what's going on.

This past weekend was a lot of fun.  On Thursday night, I drove down to West Lake Village (just outside of LA) to see Adam "Skinny Daug" Arnold and his brother Michael Clarke.  I made it down there in 5 hours, and considering I sat in traffic for almost an hour, you can imagine I was going pretty fast! Heheheeh, my average speed through the grapevine was 110 MPH, playing cat and mouse with a 2001 Honda Prelude (we had a lot of fun doing this and played with each other for about 2 hours).  Once I got to Adam's place, we hung out and spent some quality time together.  He's going through a tough time and needed a little emotional and spiritual boost, and since he's done that for me more than once over the last 15 years, I was happy to oblige.  In summary, we had a great visit together and we were both better off after hanging out with each other.

So, as I left Adam's place, I figured wow, I'm pretty close to Sean Joyce who lives in San Diego, so I gave him a ring and he told me to come on down!  I sat in traffic for 3 hours (yech!) and made it down there around 1:00 pm.  After meeting his parents, it was off to Caudswell for lunch at this great little Greek cafe.  Then we walked around town, saw some of the sights and headed back to his parents place for a bit.  After hanging out there, we we out to dinner at a great sushi bar, pick up a very good bottle of wine that Becky and Lisa hooked me on during one of our visits over the past year (it was the good bottle of BV laddies :) and then went back to his place where we sat by the pool, drank that bottle (plus another good one) and talked the night away.  It was a most excellent time and I was thankful to have the opportunity to hang out with Sean.  He's very good people.... :-)

On Sunday am, I left Sean's house in Oceanside and was on the road at 8:00 am.  I pulled off the highway at my exit at 1:00 pm.  Yep, if you're trying to figure out the math, I traveled 430 miles in 5 hours (that's also taking into consideration the 2 fuel stops I made).  Average speed:  86 MPH (most of it was at 100 MPH).  Ahhhhhhh, it was a fun drive :)

I spent the rest of the day hanging out with Justin.  We took a little trip into San Francisco for an early dinner and then we came back to Dublin, where we both crashed out pretty early (I was zonked on the couch at 9:00 pm).

Let's see, what else.... well, this morning I awoke to find a very nice email from a friend of mine of whom I miss quite a bit.  Aaron "Burly Man" Dinsmore, who lives up in the Rockland, ME area with his beautiful wife Jody and his two children.  His second son Dayton Jean Dinsmore was born July 25 8lbs 9oz.  I've gotta get some picts from Aaron so that I can post them up here.  I also need to pay that boy a visit!

Speaking of families I need to visit, Dana and Heather Johnson dropped me a line over the past weeks and included a few pictures of the kids.  Hehehehe, they are all doing well and as you can see here, their two beautiful children are a happy bunch!  That's Gabe and his sister Kaitlin having some birthday cake!  Hehehehe, looks like they both enjoyed it!  BTW, Gabe, this picture will haunt you for years to come! :)

My brother Tim dropped me a line to let me know that he and Suzanne are doing well.  He's keeping busy around the house with a lot little projects (and I know he's having fun with them!) and Suzanne just got a new job.  They have started talking about having kids..... oh my.... am I to be an uncle sometime in the near future.... stay tuned :-)

Tom Doucette dropped me a line from FL.  He's doing OK down there, and is once again showing himself to be the consumate survivor.  All and all, he's doing OK, and I'm hoping that our paths will cross sometime in the near future so that we can share a beer together and kick back.

Jessica (Hummer's fiancee') dropped me a line with a link to the website where she got Hummer's cool titanium ring.  If you want to check it out, visit:  http://www.titaniumcommitment.com/

My beautiful sister Gini has started school again.  She's doing well and glad to be back with all of her friends.  She's living in a brand new dorm which is supposed to be pretty nice, so I'll be checkin' that out during my next trip back. 

Speaking of which, I'll be heading back East at the end of this month for William "Spidey" Wright's wedding.  He and Cathy are tying the knot, so I'll be there on Sunday September 30 to witness this event.  Hehehe, Junior and I have finally given up on trying to talk him out of it, so I guess we'll just have to go along with it :)  Hehehehe, aren't friends fun!

And that's about it for now.  This week is a short week at work for most of us (yeah!) and I don't really have to many plans.  I need to take my Civic in for it's 60K mile tune up (damn... the expensive one!), but that's a worthy investment (I love my car!).  I haven't decided what I'm going to do for next weekend.  I may head back down to San Diego if I can find a cheap flight, otherwise, I'll be staying up here.

So, drop me a line and let me know what's going on in your neck of the woods.  I'd love hear from ya!

~Penz


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