I Hate This Week

I hate this week.

I think I started a message to a friend with those words earlier tonight as a slightly lame excuse for my glacial email response time of late. I guess I could use it as an excuse for the slow pace of my site updates too, particularly with respect to Road Trip 98.

I’ll spare you all the details, lest this become one of those increasingly ubiquitous “why I’m not updating” or “why my life sucks” rants. Suffice to say that my life doesn’t suck, that I’m not updating because I’m really busy right now, and that it will all get better in a few days. I may even get around to answering some mail. Then it will be time to go home for Christmas and it’ll all start over again.


Gosh darn. That link from the Advocate I mentioned a few days ago went away pretty damned fast. Why am neither particularly surprised nor particularly upset? Now visitors to their page of links can find reassuringly happy and safe sites which don’t say anything bad or question those “happy upscale gay” aesthetics and demographics.

A little more of Road Trip 98 is here for your perusal, including Minneapolis Finale and Minneapolis to Kansas City. More later tonight or tomorrow.

Alas, most of the email I hadn’t answered yesterday still hasn’t been answered today…

The Great Blackout of ’98

So I should’ve just stayed in bed.

I woke up about 8:45 and noticed the power was out. Dutifully, I got up, took a shower, dressed, and trudged off toward my part-time job, thinking this was just another neighborhood outage. Figuring that grabbing a bus on Folsom would really suck since all the traffic signals were out, I walked upto Mission. I was a little freaked out to notice the lights were still out and that none of the electric buses were running. I kept walking. I was starting to guess this might be a little more than a local occurence. Little did I know that power was out all over the city.

Jeez…what a mess. A million people without power. Minimal transit, no stoplights, nothing. By Fourth and Market, I decided to go back home and just read my book. And I never got my Sausage McMuffin. At least, though, the blackout gave me time to finish the Road Trip 98 saga (once the lights came back on).

Things I Love This Week

Home today, sitting in one of those thousands of San Francisco apartments with no heat or insulation to speak of. But it never gets cold in SF, you say. Perhaps not, by most standards, but it sure FEELS cold when it gets into the 40’s at night and you’re sitting in a drafty Victorian huddled over a wimpy space heater.

For a change of pace, here are some things I’m loving this week:

  • Reruns of “The Critic” on Comedy Central
  • Minute Maid Lemonade on sale at Safeway
  • Kelley’s Coffee Shop in Oakland (review coming soon)
  • The creepy new decor at My Place on Folsom Street (or is it just out of date Halloween decorations?)
  • My blanket

The Spirit

Only nine shopping days ’til Christmas. I’m not trying to be blatantly commercial or anything, but this seems like a good time to re-visit David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries. If I were less pure of spirit, I’d mention that you can buy the book from which these excerpts were taken right here on the site. But mentioning that would be wrong somehow.

Last note for the day: if you do nothing else today, visit this website. Just do it. Trust me.

Ummm, a War

So it would seem we’re at war. And I didn’t hear a damned thing about it until hours after the fact.

Used to be this type of thing would result in an immediate (if brief) interruption of all programming on all commercial TV stations. I was home all day. The TV was on. I didn’t see a bulletin or hear a single word until I watched the 7:00 news.

Ironically, one of the top stories was about the “apathy” many Americans were showing toward the whole thing. Given a reliance on TV news, it’s a fucking miracle most of us even KNEW about it.

I’m sure the “big three” affiliates probably had plenty of live coverage, but who the hell watches ABC, CBS, or NBC anymore? You’d think the beginning of a war might have at least merited a MENTION on the other stations too.

On a related note, check out this bitchin’ TV site. While you’re at it, check out yesterday’s link du jour again too.

No Sex, One Poll

The roomie left for New Orleans this morning. Of course, since I could now have a week of really noisy sex without bothering him, there are two factors working against me. The first is that I have this lingering nasty chest cold, which makes me sound like I’m dying (I’m not…)

The second, of course, is that I won’t be able to get anyone interested. Seems lately that I can only find willing partners when I’m not at all in the mood. Or else they’re two or three time zones away. Doesn’t really matter, I guess, as I have an awful lot of work to finish up this weekend in preparation for my annual holiday trek to North Carolina.

So far the most conclusive results of the survey are that you want more of me and more nastiness and negativity along the lines of The Idiot Factor. No promises on the former, but you’re assured of the latter…

Faux Butch

When I splintered those closet doors at the tender age of 17, people often said to me “I never would have guessed you were gay” (a pretty back-handed compliment if ever there was one). Nowadays, I’m more likely to be told that I’m “masculine”. Hmmm…

I never really thought of myself as “masculine”. It’s certainly nothing I’ve ever aspired to. To be honest, “masculinity” is not something I really give a shit about, whether it’s my own or that of a friend or sex partner. I just don’t really care that much one way or the other.

Granted, it’s annoying to be in a bar full of affected idiots snapping their fingers and squealing “Oh Mary” this and “Miss Thing” that. But that’s not really about “masculinity” or “effeminacy”. It’s all about stupid learned behaviors. It’s no less annoying to be in a bar full of faux butch poseurs. Again, it’s got nothing to do with their “masculinity”, but with their inability to act like anything but cliches.

I’m not really talking about leatherfags here, although I do find the leather scene more comical than erotic most of the time. Leatherfags at least ADMIT that it’s all about costumes and fetishism. Once outside the drag, leatherfags usally have some balance.

No, I’m talking about the poor souls who go through life (both in and out of the bedroom) absolutely obsessed with being “masculine”.

Picture the wannabe frat boy who’s always off to the racquetball court in his monster truck, as if driving a Geo Metro might make his hair turn lavender. Off he flies in search of the latest “outdoorsy” drag from Abercrombie & Fitch, and then off to the gym to work on those grotesque pecs and lats and abs, all the time dreaming of a similarly “masculine” boyfriend. No fats. No fems…

He’s fiercely proud of being gay, and he’s perpetually annoyed by all the drag queens and anyone else who doesn’t meet his standard of “masculinity”. He thinks “fringe groups” present the “wrong image”, although he fancies himself politically progressive. He regularly reminds his straight friends that being gay does not mean being “effeminate”. No fats. No fems…

In bed, he may play “bottom” on occasion, but only with someone even more “masculine” than he is. No fats. No fems…

Think about it for a minute. Is he any less affected than the Southern belle in the pegleg jeans and the Chanel T-shirt? Is he any less contrived than the fey antique shop owner who refers to everyone — male and female — as”she”?

I don’t understand this whole faux butch dynamic. I don’t understand viewing life in terms of “masculine” or “feminine” any more than I understand anyone who describes himself as a “top” or a “bottom”. Maybe I’m missing something.

I’ll take a cute sissy with a personality over a tight-assed drag king with a macho complex any day of the week. As a friend or as a boyfriend…

Apathy and Other Stuff

The country is going to hell. Wait. Scratch that. It’s the government that’s going to hell. The country is just suffering from the utter ridiculousness of it all.

And vast numbers of Americans just don’t care anymore. If ever there was a textbook example of why voters, particularly younger voters, are apathetic and cynical about the political process, the Republican party provided it today. The Republicans can’t be bothered with actually running the country, not when there are Democrats to be trashed.

Not to suggest that those very same Democrats wouldn’t have done the very same thing had the situation been reversed. Therein lies the problem: a complete moral bankruptcy in both ruling parties. There are no more statesmen. There are merely paid corporate mouthpieces. There is no more concern for issues. There is simply loyalty to the party and complete devotion to re-election.

And there’s not a damned bit of difference between the average Democrat and the average Republican — excpet maybe a slightly different list of corporate sponsors.

Only moderately related: has anyone other than I noticed that, in addition to being the nickname of a Nazi general, “Desert Fox” was also the name of a really bad military-themed gay porn video of the late 80’s? Coincidence?

About That Last Post

Watching the post-impeachment nightmare this morning in my hungover state (never EVER drink beer on top of any kind of cough syrup), I prepared this journal entry about the complete moral bankruptcy of both political parties in the U.S.

Then I re-read it and it sounded incredibly pretentious. I decided I make a lousy political commentator. However, I went ahead and archived it, in case you’re inordinantly interested and still want to read it.

What I’m now concerned with is the fact that I’ve had my crotch and/or ass grabbed in bars more times this weekend than any time in recent memory. By complete strangers. By people I had not so much as looked at. By really drunk nasty trolls.

Is it the Christmas intoxication factor? Or did I just look that available? It can’t be that I looked so enticing, ‘cuz I didn’t. What’s the deal here?

Anyhow, I made it home safely. Now I’m gonna watch “Cannon” and go to bed.

Ah, Watergate

Memories of Watergate…

I was a youngster in that exciting summer of 1974, and my biggest memories of the whole affair were that my favorite TV shows got pre-empted an awful lot. That was a really traumatic year anyway, as I lost both The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family.

That’s me, deeply in the throes of withdrawal…

But I did pick up enough of the Watergate action to realize that impeachment is nothing but a precursor to a Senate trial which might conceivably remove a president from office…an arraignment or an indictment, if you will. I figured this out at age 10. It’s very disturbing to me that full-grown adults are so ignorant of the concept today.

What the hell are they teaching kids in schools these days? I guess “self-esteem” is more important than, say, reading or writing or learning how the country works. It’s no wonder we keep electing such blithering idiots to public office and passing such blatantly unconstitutional ballot initiatives. Most voters haven’t a clue what’s going on!

It was 65 in Greensboro yesterday, while it snowed in parts of San Francisco. But never fear: they’re predicting freezing rain for my Friday arrival in North Carolina, so I’ll be spared some considerable irony…

Merry Whatever

Insert the name of your culturally appropriate holiday and then wish yourself a happy one. If this happens to be the inappropriate time of year for it, please feel free to save this page and look back at it at such time as you deem it acceptable.

And if you’re a Jehovah’s Witness, just forget I said anything at all, OK?

I’m off to North Carolina for a week or two, so don’t look for this page to change much until I get back.

Last night was pretty much my only pre-departure nod to the season, as it turned out: a nice dinner and “A Very Brady Christmas” with Sarah and Brad, who are now in the wilds of Greater Los Angeles.

I really should start my Christmas shopping one of these days. Right now, though, I’m gonna head up the street and have a beer…

Home for the Holidays

I usually fly home on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day because I’m usually flying standby and these two days are usually much easier. Today, alas, it meant standing in line for 45 minutes before I could get near a plane, thanks to all the snow and ice delays over the midwest and northeast for the past few days.

Fortunately, once I actually got on the plane, it was pretty empty, and I was seated next to a cute enough 20-something. He was little nerdly in appearance, but I don’t look on that as a negative. We didn’t really talk; he was reading something and I was reading my Christmas present from Sarah, a book on Sid and Marty Kroft.

The movie sucked. The meal consisted of some glop masquerading as an omelette, All in all, though, not a bad flight. I even had time for a cigarette in Charlotte.


Upon arrival in Greensboro, I was met by Mom and Dad and my uncle, and we scurried over to the in progress Christmas dinner at my cousin’s house. I was completely worn out and itching for sleep by the time I got home.

Weekend in Greensboro

I really didn’t do much all weekend other than watch TV and hang out with Mom and Dad. For some reason, I always feel really sleepy and lethargic when I’m at home. Maybe I’m bored, but it’s more likely due to the caffeine deprivation (less Coke, more Sprite and Fresca) and to the fact that I don’t smoke as much. I also feel a little funny not having a car.

The Mall

Visited the mall today. I never really go to malls in San Francisco (unless you count the Castro, but I never really go there either). My old neighborhood mall, Four Seasons Town Centre, is a 3-level monster which still seems bigger than just about any mall I’ve seen. I grew up in this mall. I learned how to drink, do drugs, and have sex at this mall. My first three jobs were here. And now it seems so foreign.

Security (and security cameras) are everywhere, so cruising is out of the question. All the kids look like some redneck parody of the gangster baggy look, with a sort of over the top feel which was probably out of style three or four years ago (if this version was ever IN style). Only the black kids got the look right. All the white kids looked like inbred trailer trash with really silly haircuts. But they didn’t even get the trailer trash look right. Visualize Vanilla Ice crossed with Cletus the Slack-jawed Yokel.

Myrtle Beach


We left really early this morning for a day trip to Myrtle Beach, on “Future Interstate 73”, which is basically the same collection of back roads (most of them two-lane) I used to take during that unfortunate summer of 1986 when I lived there.

This was my first trip back to the Grand Strand since about 1987. It’s changed, and it’s really creepy to think I lived in this unnatural, surreal environment, even if only for three or four months. I guess it will always hold memories for me as the first place I lived away from home. My old 2-bedroom townhouse with dishwaher is still there, renting for $525 now. The surf/skate shop I managed has been bulldozed.

I have a long histoy with Myrtle Beach. In addition to living there, it was also the first place I went for a booze-soaked road trip without Mom and Dad in 1981. The next year on my post-graduation trip, it became the site where I came out to a guy I had a major crush on.


The “strip” and the area around the Pavilion seem pretty intact in all their seedy charms, although the crowds were nowhere to be seen, given that it was a foggy December day with a temperature of about 45F (7C). The Gay Dolphin Gift Cove (no…not THAT kind of “gay”…) was open and fully stocked with T-shirts, license plates, and postcards datng to the mid 1970s. A few of the arcades were even open.


Aside from the summer mix of high school kids, where rednecks, preppies, and stoners co-exist with relative ease, Myrtle Beach now also attracts the older crowd with golf, outlet stores, and lots of strip malls. There’s even a Hard Rock Cafe and a Planet Hollywood. And, of course, a Kinko’s. I was really a little creeped out by the theme malls. And I’ve decided that outlet malls are really ugly and completely without any bargains to speak of. I don’t get it.

It’s gotten pretty intense since I left. We hit traffic jams. In December. Odd…


We left Myrtle Beach about 5. By 6:30, we’d hit the magical place known as South of the Border. This place is classic roadside, opened in the early 1950s near Dillon SC, just south of the North Carolina border with a semi-Mexican theme. It’s known worldwide for its billboards and their bad puns (“Pedro’s Weather Forecast: Chili Today, Hot Tamale”).

The place just gets bigger and bigger. There are motels, coffee shops, and various kitsch emporiums. This was my first night visit. I’d expected neon, but jeez…

On the Town

A drought in Greensboro. Everyone’s conserving water, which is surprising given the lack of patience people here have with environmental issues. It was a little disturbing to hear my dad recite that Califonia mantra I first heard at aHaight Street restaurant in SF in 1991: “If it’s yellow, please be mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”

Of course, the water problems are largely due to overdevelopment on the west side of town, which has also led to a disorienting anti-development mentality in Greensboro, where growth has traditionally been viewed as a good thing and chain store expansions are usually greeted with near-universal excitement. Perhaps there’s hope after all.

Met Jeff at Babylon tonight. It was “swing night”, which made for an annoyingly happy and peppy crowd, all of whom were nerve-rackingly chipper and many of whom would burst into dance almost anyplace (usually right where I was trying to walk). We left pretty quickly.

First stop was the “N” Club, a new nightclub opened in an old downtown theater. Pretty place with an alarmingly white, straight, young crowd. The door people were assholes with the charm and demeanor of street pimps. There was a metal detector. We didn’t stay long.

At the Palms, still my favorite Greensboro queer bar, there was a drag show and the same two ex-fucks who seem to be there every time I visit. I picked up each of these major mistakes in the Palms right before I moved west in 1992 and it seems as if they’ve never left the bar since. At one point, I found myself sandwiched between the two of them at the bar. Fortunately, at least one of them didn’t recognize me.

The Cafeteria

I’ve eaten at an awful lot of cafeterias on this trip. Cafeterias are a phenomenon relatively unfamiliar outside the south, it seems. They’re far too inexpensive and unpretentious ever to really succeed in California, even though SF had a big one in years past (now replaced, appropriately enough, by a Gap and an Urban Outfitters, two peas in a pod).

In southern cities, whole cultures develop around them. Older couples (“empty nesters”) often seem to take most of their meals there, and actually know many of the other patrons. Families congregate there, as well as college students looking for a cheap feed. The food is good and cheap, the vegetables are fresh and often make a complete meal in themselves, and there’s no tipping. Someone should do a study of Southern cafeteria culture.

I continued the tradition of New Year’s Eve at home with Mom and Dad and was spared hearing “1999” even once.