Tag Archives: New York

Question: “When did you realize you were a minimalist?”

Question: “Lady I” asked, “When did you realize you were a minimalist? I mean, I guess you’ve always been one, but when did you realize it?

My Answer:


Well, I can’t say I’ve always been a minimalist. Like anything else, I’ve had the capacity for it, but the fact is, I used to collect comic books when I was younger, and fancied having a huge collection. In addition, I collected vinyl records at one point–during my radio deejay years–and had about 3,000 of them I had to carry each time I moved. And, I had boxes containing 5,000 photographs taken throughout my life–the only things that can’t be replaced.

I’d say it’s been an evolution–a path. In the same way I believe that any true commitment to justice leads down the same path (Malcolm X reportedly said you can’t be anti-racism, and not eventually see the connection between capitalism and women’s rights, child labor, etc.), I believe, too, that any true commitment to health leads down the same path (veganism, raw food, anti-GMO, etc.) and any true commitment to freedom eventually leads to minimalism. You can’t truly be free attached to “stuff.”

In December of 2005, right after I had first heard about Saipan and decided to escape from America to that island, I had to make a decision about my comics and my records, and all the other “stuff” I had in my apartment. My comic books are in my friend Andrew’s garage somewhere in New York. My records found a home in New Jersey. (I guess, maybe it’s not true minimalism if I can reunite with them if I needed to, but I’m not actually responsible for them or lugging them around anymore as I explore the world.) Eventually, on the day that I gave up my apartment in Harlem, I left a lot of stuff in there for the superintendent of the building to do with as he pleased.

So, to answer your question, my minimalism really became activated as a prelude to my escape. It’s a necessary part of maintaining my freedom. The more stuff I have, the less free I am.


With albums digitized, and photographs scanned, the only thing I need is my laptop…..and a bottle of cayenne pepper! (taken in a hotel in China)

Now, at the same time, don’t mistake minimalism for scarcity or poverty. I still believe in abundance and prosperity. Someone once asked me how I can want a harem of femininity around me if I’m a minimalist? The two are not mutually exclusive. Minimalism is generally applied to the reduction of the accumulation of things, not relationships or experiences. (Stay tuned for a future post on the Freedom to Love Honestly!)

Hope that helps a bit.

Question: “If you’re in New York, why is it still ‘Jamaican in China’??? “

Actually, Andrea’s exact comment was:

“Hey, I love the look of your revised blog! More appealing. I understand you’re in the US at present. Are you still keeping the Jamaican in China headline because you’re planning to return there??”

My reply was:
Thanks! I thought about that. I can’t keep changing the blog title for every place I visit. So, whether it’s Laos, Singapore, Czech Republic or Italy, the blog will probably always be “Jamaican in China” for marketing reasons as well. It’s got a nice ring to it, and creates more of a compelling contrast to attract people’s attention. And yes, I definitely plan to go back as soon as possible and resume the adventure!

What is Achievable Freedom? What is Jamaican in China?

What is Achievable Freedom a concept by Walt Goodridge

So, I’m putting all the pieces together to make 2012 a great year! If you’re on my PassionProfit.com subscriber list, you’re receiving the “Achievable Freedom” newsletter. You can check out a sample of the newsletter here , and sign up to the mailing list here. The “Achievable Freedom” concept essentially encourages you to create the life you want by acting on five freedoms:

1. The freedom to live on purpose.

2. The freedom to prosper.

3. The freedom to escape.

4. The freedom to love honestly, and

5. The freedom to age less. 

See “What is Achievable Freedom?“. 

The Jamaican in  China blog you’re reading represents the “freedom to escape” component of the Achievable Freedom message, but also much more. The unexpected juxtaposition of the storyline of a Jamaican in China is a metaphor for the freedom to roam, the freedom to step outside the box of conventional thinking and lifestyle; the freedom to challenge boundaries; the freedom to overturn stereotypes. It’s the tried and true “fish out of water” theme of many successful hollywood movies. However, it’s not all about fun and games. It’s not intended to be just an entertaining read. My goal is to offer inspiration for you to act on any or all of the five freedoms.

So, there’s really no specific point to this little rant, except to say that as we move forward, I hope that you enjoy my adventures, and use them as a source of empowerment to create your own freedom in 2012 and beyond!

p.s. Oh, and by the way, as you know, I’m currently in New York City. However, it’s getting warmer here, and I’ve promised myself that I’ll be going outside more often. In fact, later today I’ll be hanging out with my friend, Ken. Ken was the fellow who introduced me to Saipan all those years ago! So, stay tuned for some Jamaican in New York excitement! 

Dan Shor… not Jamaican, but brilliant nonetheless! Another of my cool friends

So, I’ve made a decision to get out of the house more (it’s really not that cold here in New York, relatively speaking). So, yesterday, I hung out in downtown Manhattan with veteran film actor Dan Shor. Yes, THAT Dan Shor of Tron movie fame. So, me and Dan were shooting the breeze in an Indian restaurant, and, um, what’s that? Who me? Casually dropping names in my blog to inflate my own importance and impress you with my circle of friends? Oh, come on! I’d NEVER do a shallow thing like that!

But, just in case you don’t know who Dan Shor is, here’s an excerpt from the wikipedia page on him

“Shor’s acting credits include Air Force One, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Tron , Red Rock West, and John Huston’s Wise Blood. Television films and mini-series include Friendly Fire, Elvis and the Colonel and The Blue and the Gray (for which Shor won a People’s Choice Award). He was a series regular on Cagney and Lacey and several other television series as well as numerous guest star appearances including a Ferengi doctor on Star Trek: The Next Generation, a role he would reprise seven years later on Star Trek: Voyager. In 1983, Shor starred in the band Kansas’ music video “Fight Fire With Fire” and made appearances in their “Everybody’s My Friend” video. Stage appearances in Los Angeles and San Diego have garnered Shor eight Drama-Logue and LA Weekly performance awards.”

Now, apparently, there’s a whole parallel universe of Tron movie fanatics and others from his fan club whose love of Dan Shor’s appearance in the role of Ram in the original Tron prompted the producers to reprise his role in the recent 2011 sequel!

Anyway, you might be wondering how we met. Like me, Dan escaped from America a few years ago to live on a tropical island in the Pacific, and, you guessed it: we met while he was on Saipan back in 2006! It’s a small island! He was getting into directing at the time, and I wrote an article on him for the Saipan Tribune, and recently helped him re-issue the dvd for Looking for America, the pilot he produced and directed for a Saipan-based television series he envisioned.

Dan left Saipan and returned to New York shortly after we met, but we’ve kept in touch, and yesterday, finally had a chance to spend a few hours reminiscing about Saipan, China, acting, directing and life abroad and other, um, man stuff!  

He’s doing a lot more diverse types of directing now through his company, Shodavision.


Dan as Ram in the movie Tron

looking for america by dan shor
The DVD, Looking for America, produced by Dan Shor’s Shodavision (also available on Amazon), and also featuring Dan as a Russian bar owner!

ben salas and dan shor saipan
Dan and filmmaker Ben Salas back on Saipan back in the day!

dan shor and walt goodridge new york
Dan Shor in New York, with the Jamaican in China New York for now!

Jamaican sequestered in New York!

I feel so bad for not posting in such a long while. However, as I mentioned in the previous post, I’ve sequestered myself in a corner of Queens, in New York city, while I wait out the holiday travel season. I’m starting to plan my return to China, but in the meantime, I’m very focussed on continuing the creation, conversion and promotion for the Kindle editions of my books. So, similarly to when I locked myself in a hotel room in Beijing to work on debugging shopping cart software code for my website, now I’m holed up in a two by four room in the big apple, keeping odd hours (up at 3:00am, bed at 11pm), doing my best at cracking the Kindle code to really jumpstart and generate sales! Stay tuned!

And, not to worry, Nook Reader owners. I’m doing conversions for you, too!

Mommy, the other kids are laughing at my phone!

SCENE 1:

“Oh, my heavens! Walt, what’s THAT?”

“Um, what do you mean?”

“Is that a phone???”

“Um, yes?”

“Wow! Does it work?

“Of course it works! What do you mean?”

“Well, it’s just that…well, I didn’t know they still made those. Hey honey [to her husband], come look at Walt’s phone! Check this out…It’s even got a little antenna! That’s so cute!”

 

SCENE 2:

ME: [whips out phone thinking he’s cool]

SHE: [incredulous stare]

ME: “Kim, what’s wrong?”

SHE: [shakes her head to snap herself back into reality] “um, do you mind if I take a picture of that?”

ME: “picture of what?”

SHE: “That.”

ME: “You mean my phone?”

SHE: [pulls out her smartphone and snaps a photo]

ME: [hides the phone and looks around nervously if anyone is looking]


my phone


“Yes, it works, dammit!”

Yep. This is my phone. It’s not a Blackberry™. It’s not an iPhone®. (In fact, it’s not really that smart at all.)  Whenever I travel to New York, after I land, I whip out my Boostmobile phone, purchase a SIM card and I’m ready to rock and roll! Well, at least I THOUGHT I was rockin’ and rollin’. According to my friends, it’s not rock and roll, it’s more like music from an ancient banjo with missing strings.

According to Consumer Reports: A smart phone can typically handle multiple e-mail accounts (including corporate types), has a sophisticated organizer, and can handle Office documents. Some allow you to create and edit spreadsheets and documents, and they usually support Microsoft Exchange. Their touch-screen displays are larger, and their cameras are more advanced than those on conventional phones. And they typically have Wi-Fi, and support higher mobile wireless data speeds that facilitate better Web browsing and streaming media. Their advanced operating systems give them access to a host of applications: productivity tools, shopping, multimedia, games, travel, news, weather, social, finance, references, etc.

Nope, my phone does none of these things. I find that I don’t feel the need to shuffle Office documents while I’m on a beach on Saipan. But my phone does, in fact, do something amazing that just 20 years ago was unheard of: it makes phone calls, and allows me to talk to someone else while I’m out walking around outside without having to use a land line. Imagine that!


I don’t care WHAT you say, flip phones are still cool! I feel like I’m Captain Kirk.”Beam me up, Scotty, the aliens are laughing at me.” [Taken on Oct 17, 2011 with Kim’s fancy shmancy smartphone and sent to me in an email entitled “Walt on his fossil”]

Along with Facebook, the smart phone revolution sort of goes forward without me. That’s what can happen when you’re living on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific. When I take the subway here in New York, I’m practically the only one who hasn’t assumed “the position:” head bowed, ear-piece inserted , elbows close to the body, forearms extended, thumbs working, eyes glued to a screen. No one makes eye contact. They look up just briefly enough to see what station they’ve reached, and if it’s time, they snap the phone shut and speed out. (“Lady, wait! You forgot your kid!”)

Assume the position! [courtesy of asiagoans.com]

Sigh. I think I missed the memo. 

Life in New York 101….for people on Saipan

On the island of Saipan, there are no parking meters to feed. There is no “alternate side of the street” parking. There is no street cleaning schedule to be mindful of. I can pull my car up to almost any available space be it beachfront, roadside,  or even grassy sidewalk, put my car in park, turn off the engine, and do whatever I wish to do. When I return, my car will be right where I left it. In fact, I could leave the doors open and the keys in the ignition, and return to find my car.

Eight thousand miles away, in the city of New York, space is at a premium. Every bit of pavement where one could conceivably park, stand or idle is controlled by signs that limit parking to certain specific hours and/or specific days, or has a meter that is vigilantly monitored by parking meter attendants who will eagerly, and often mercilessly dispense parking violation tickets of $60+ within seconds of your meter’s expiration. (They’ve got quotas to fill)

One can drive around for hours–I said hours–in search of a parking space–as I’ve done–(before I mastered the art of “manifesting a space”) and not find one. I attempt to explain this to my friends on Saipan. However, it’s the sort of insanity that one cannot begin to contemplate unless actually forced to live it.

So, I decide to film an example of what I mean. On the street in the borough of Queens, New York where I’m staying, there are street cleaning rules that one must be aware of if one is to maintain possession of one’s car and/or money.


Street sign

This sign says “No Parking between 7-30am – 8:00am every day day except Sunday.” The broom in the circle indicates that this particular side of the street will be cleaned during those hours.

What that means is, every day at exactly 7:29am, a few things will start to happen. People will rush out of their apartments and take their seats in their cars and peer through their rear view windows. At the same time, parking meter attendants will be seen approaching the cars with their pens and pads (or electronic, bar-code scanning “ticket in a second” gizmos) in hand. Down the street the sound of a street sweeper will be heard approaching.

Once 7:30am hits, those cars that are empty–whose owners overslept, forgot the rules or who are unaware of the regulation–and thus blocking the street sweepers from easily completing their jobs–will be ticketed. (Note: if you’re in your car, you won’t get a ticket; in some neighborhoods, hard-to-remove stickers will be placed on the windows [not sure if that’s still done in New York]; in other neighborhoods, cars might be towed)

Click here to watch the actual video

Here’s what’s happening in the video you’re about to see: As the street sweeper approaches, one after another, the drivers of the each parked and ready vehicle will move out of the way and come to rest on the other side of the street, and allow the street sweeper to sweep. Then, immediately–and I mean immediately–after the sweeper passes, the driver will put his/her car in reverse and return to the exact spot they were occupying just a few seconds before.

As a vehicle owner in New York who wants a parking space close to your apartment, this the only way to keep possession. If you made the mistake of driving off, circling the block and returning to your space, it would be gone…taken by someone else who might have been driving around for hours looking for a parking space.


The sweeper approaches


The cars make way


The sweeper passes


The sweeper passes


The cars shift into reverse


Back where I was. This is MY space, darnit!

This happens every day (except Sunday), week after week, year after year.

See? And you thought I was exaggerating.

Click here to watch the actual video on the OTHER side of the street!

A poignant reunion with long lost friends in New Jersey

Once I realized that I would be traveling to New York, I made a list of things I needed to do and those I wanted to visit. This reunion was on the top of my list. 

Our original separation back in 2006 when I first launched my nomadpreneur adventure to go to Saipan was truly heartfelt. At the time, it was probably the hardest thing I had to do in order to leave New York free of attachments and be a minimalist.

Those friends had been with me through thick and thin. I knew them from back in and all throughout my college experience. They were with me when I moved into my first apartment in the Bronx. They were with me in subsequent moves to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th apartments in the Bronx, as well as 3 separate moves in Silver Spring, Maryland, 2 more moves back in Queens and finally to Manhattan. I really don’t know what I would have done without them. They’ve sort of been a constant….almost like a soundtrack playing in the background of my life. When I finally left New York for Saipan, they ended up in New Jersey. So, today, these many years later, I was really looking forward to seeing them again.
 

So, at about 9am, I hopped on a subway train (the “F” train) from Queens to Penn Station and boarded a New Jersey Transit train to New Jersey.

 

I traveled over hill and dale, across bridges and through tunnels.

 

As I traveled, I gazed longingly out the window and wondered. Have they been safe? What has life been like for them? Will I recognize them when I see them? Will I cry at the reunion?

 

Finally, it’s time to see them again.

 

A short ride from the train station, and I am finally here.

 

I take the few short steps up the stairs.

 

My heart is beating.

 

There’s a lump in my throat.

 

 

My hands are trembling.

 

 

And then I see them. There they are.

 

 

Just as I had left them.

 

 

 

Just as I remembered them.

 

 

I lean forward. Extend my arms.

 

 

…and start to giggle uncontrollably as I flip through my old vinyl record collection! Man, I missed you guys!

 

 

 

My friend, Tony, has been storing the 3,500 vinyl records that I had accumulated during my time as a radio deejay. There’s an eclectic collection of Reggae, Rock, Calypso, R&B, Jazz and more…many collector’s items and rare stuff unavailable online in this new digital age.


Bob Marley and the Beatles

So, the plan is to digitize some of the hard to find stuff that I haven’t heard in years so as to make my life complete.

Digitizing from vinyl to mp3. They’ve got special turntables for that! Modern technology.


Cue music: Peaches & Herb sing “Reunited, and it feels so good!”

There was one song, in particular, that had been haunting my mind that I absolutely had to hear again in real time. It was “’til the morning comes” by Lora McFarlane (Just a snippet, so I won’t be guilty of encouraging illegal file sharing!)


And thanks, Tony and Judy, for keeping my long lost friends safe and cool! And, um, yes, it was nice seeing you guys, too!

Conjured up by a Sikh

Strolling around the Big Apple in the Union Square area waiting on a friend.

So, I’m hanging out with a friend in Washington Square Park near New York University. We finally find a free bench and end up sitting across from a fellow who is working on his laptop (a mac). We’re minding our own business, and then, after a few minutes, he comes over, excuses himself for the interruption and asks, “Forgive me for asking, but is this you?” as he turns his laptop screen to show me a picture of myself on the cover of my 7 Conversations to Freedom ebook which he happens to be reading…on a bench in Washington Square Park…. in a city of 8 million people….directly across from the guy who wrote the book…..who just happens to be visiting the city for a few weeks. He says that stuff like that happens to him all the time. He added that he was planning to contact me after reading the book. How funny is that!? He conjured me up.

I asked him how he arrived at the ebook and he said was on my FreeSummerConcerts.com mailing list and followed the link to the free download. Turns out my new friend’s name is Hari Nam Singh Khalsam, a renowned spiritual teacher with a very stellar background. Check it out at
http://web.me.com/harinam56/Hari_Nam_Singh_Khalsa/Hari_Nam_Bio.html


Conjured up by a Sikh

Jamaican in New York!

Yes, you guessed it! From the “Where is Walt” photo at the top of the blog to the pretty self-explanatory title of this post, I know I can’t put anything over on you! I’m in New York City! I’ll share more of the adventure soon! For now, enjoy a taste of New York courtesy of Vegetarian Paradise restaurant on West 4th Street and 6th Avenue in the Village. Yes, I went straight from Newark Airport to Manhattan to dine at my favorite restaurant within an hour of landing! 

 

The Funny Things That Customers Do: I reserve the right to refuse…

As a nomadpreneur, I conduct a large portion of my business on the internet. I have websites through which I offer products and services to a wide range of markets.

I was listening, the other day, to a radio broadcast that was discussing the effect that technology has had on human interaction. A fascinating phenomenon of the internet is how it has changed many people’s communication styles. With no need to meet and interact face to face with the person they are emailing, many people have devolved to very crass, rude, inappropriate and offensive ways of speaking to each other. With their identities masked by anonymity, many people feel empowered to insult,  ridicule, curse and assume a combative postures in their communications with other human beings–in ways that would be unthinkable were they actually in the physical presence of the person with whom they are communicating.

Case in point. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I own and maintain a website called FreeSummerConcerts.com, through which–as the name suggests–I offer listings of all the free concerts happening in New York City each summer. Registration to the site is free.

Yesterday, a visitor to my site (“Rbish”) used the online form to sign up for the listings and added the following comment:

You guys suck big time! You post some corny ass ethiopian concert but you dont post the Nas/Damien Marley concert? You suck!

You should note, for the record, that the Nas/Damien Marley concerts he’s referring to are NOT free concerts but part of a national tour.*

Here is my reply to “Rbish”

 

Dear Rbish,

While I’m thankful for your feedback about my site, you should be aware that your style of communication and choice of words is unacceptable. I only serve adults who know how to conduct themselves according to commonly agreed-upon standards of polite behavior.

Despite what you’ve been led to believe about your rights of free speech, your CHOICE to speak in the way you choose DOES have consequences. You do not have the option of acting rudely AND also expect to be served graciously–if at all.

Therefore, you will not be added to my freesummerconcerts list. Unless you register under a different email account (which, of course, you are free to do unless I block your IP address too), you will not receive my weekly listings of concerts because your current email address has been flagged and banned from my system.

 

Walt Goodridge

owner of the FreeSummerConcerts.com site
*********

*It is my own adherence to certain rules of polite interaction that prevented me from responding to Rbish “what part of “FREE summer concerts” is giving you difficulty?”  (I thought it, but I didn’t write it!)

So, the bottom line is this: When you are in my domain (pun intended), you will behave yourself according to rules of common decency.

 

p.s. To read more of the funny things that customers do, and my responses, see these archived articles:

http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=3&newsID=98750 (1)

http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=3&newsID=100526 (2)

http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=3&newsID=100748 (3)

As you read these three accounts above–specifically #2 and #3–you may encounter what appears to be a contradiction as pointed out by a faithful reader. The story in item #3 recounts one of my very first forays into doing business in the music industry. I hadn’t developed my set of standard practices. It turned out that in this case, that having a contract proved fortuitous since the fellow in question was a “ne’er do well” who needed state court encouragement to “do well.” As I grew, both in experience, and in personal philosophical conviction, I developed the avoidance of contracts.


Music Matters: Reggae Music and The Jamaican in China!

For reasons I’ve yet to fully comprehend, I LOVE playing music for people. It all started back in college when I took over the reins of the “Caribbean Riddims” radio show from then host, Courtney Munroe.  For the next five years, I was known as “Sir Walt” the Reggae Deejay on WKCR-FM’s Thursday night show. (I eventually renamed the show “Reggae Riddims”) I shopped around New York’s many Reggae stores to find the latest and greatest music to play for my audiences. I get a unique thrill knowing that I’m introducing people to music they can listen to, think about, learn from and yes, even dance to.  The best calls I would receive during my shows would begin with the words, “Wow! What was the name of that song you just played…?” or “Where can I get that song you played last week?”

Of course, I consider myself very blessed to have been born Jamaican. Growing up in the country that created Reggae music was and continues to be a treat beyond compare.  At the time I was growing up in Jamaica, we had two radio stations–RJR and JBC–Radio Jamaica and Redifusion, and Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, respectively. On any given day, you could hear soul, calypso, US country music, Jazz and more all one right after the other all on the same station. Even if you didn’t have a short wave radio, like I did, you could pick up Spanish broadcasts from Cuba, which is only 90 miles north of Jamaica. Oddly enough, because of the early reputation of Reggae on the island of Jamaica itself, there was actually a time that it got harder to hear Reggae on Jamaican radio! Yes, it’s true! However, the rise of Reggae’s international appeal–thanks to artists like Bob Marley–changed that.

In any event, I’ll speak more about music matters as time goes on, but the reason this all came up, is that I recently realized that my FreeSummerConcerts website is actually an online manifestation of that same passion for sharing music. It takes a slightly different form, but every summer, I compile a list of all the free music concerts taking place in my former “home” of New York City, and I present it on my site and to my mailing list (14,000 people at last count).

Furthermore, it seems my two former lives (radio deejay and New York resident) just converged this week, when I noticed that Reggae artist, Maxi Priest would be performing in New York on Thursday, August 4!

So, in sending out this week’s FreeSummerConcerts mailing to my subscriber list , I searched through my old photo collection and added the following preface (blue) to this week’s concert listing:

 

[Dear Summerconcert subscribers],
This is one week when I’d LOVE to be back in New York with you! Aretha Franklin is performing, and Maxi Priest is coming to town! For those of you who didn’t know,(and that would be all of you), I used to be a radio deejay on WKCR-FM, New York. I had a show called “Reggae Riddims” as “Sir Walt.”As such, I got to interview great Reggae performers, and got free tickets to attend concerts, meet the artists backstage and duringrehearsals and more! I was the first deejay on New York radio to play Maxi Priest’s debut album, and had a chance to grab some shotsway, way, way back in the day! So, finally, all these years later, I get to scour through my recently digitized collection of 4,800 photos to find a fewshots to share with you!

British artist, Pato Banton, Maxi Priest and Me in Central Park (early 90’s I believe)

Freddie McGregor and Maxi at rehearsal before a concert at Radio City Music Hall

Front row seat shot of Maxi letting his hair down for the crowd!


Maxi Priest performs this Thursday in New York City

WHEN: Thursday, August 4, 2011, 12:00 PM(NOON)

ARTIST/EVENT: Maxi Priest!

WHERE: BAM MetroTech Commons, the corner of Flatbush and Myrtle Avenues in Downtown Brooklyn. (BROOKLYN)
Could someone please film it and post to youtube?

So, the point is: I’ve got years of stories to tell, photos to share, lyrics to translate, bootleg recordings to play (I never destroy or delete anything), so I’ll be sharing more of my passion for ALL TYPES of music right here on the Jamaican in China blog..(after all, I promised you Reggae music as well as everything else as part of I want to date a Jamaican in China!”, so here’s where I deliver), because….music matters!