No Friend of “Friends”

Sat through my first episode of “Friends” last night. I know I’m running a little late on this particular trend. I actually only watched it because I was hoping to catch the new Apple commericial, which was scheduled to run between 8 and 9. Is it just my imagination or is this a really lame and stupid show? What is so appealing about these people? And which of the guys is the one who’s supposed to be so damned cute? I just don’t get it…

I learned many things in the past week while working on the current feelance web project. First and foremost is that most movie studio web sites seem designed primarily for people who have T1 lines in their homes. It should not take five minutes for a web page to load at 28.8K. Ever. Period.

Another bit of realization: people were really amused at the thought of me in a tapas joint. Maybe I’ve carried this whole “lowbrow” thing too far. On the other hand, it IS pretty unusual to find me in a tapas place or anyplace where I’ll have to shell out more than ten bucks (tip included) for dinner…

Why is it that every major bill of my year falls due in February?

Hmmm…sixteen years ago Friday was the first time I ever had sex in an actual bed. I think some sort of celebration is in order…

Anyone who knows me well is aware that I love rain and storms. In fact, overabundant sunshine actually depresses me. I’ve been like this since I was a kid. But jeez…enough is enough! It might be nice to spend at least one day this month not being waterlogged. I’ve killed off two umbrellas in the past week. Dashing up to the corner store has become a monumental feat of planning and timing.

Color me very pissed that Channel 44 has replaced my two back-to-back reruns of “Grace Under Fire” at 6PM with “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Nothing against “TNG”, but I’ve seen ’em all, and it’s not exactly what I’m looking for at 6:00.

Three of the last four guys I’ve had sex with have begged me to cum in their mouths. Should this worry me? Should it worry THEM?

Word on the street is that The Power Exchange Main Station, an SF sex club, will be going co-sexual soon. There’s to be a male-only side and a male-female side. Seems like someone’s being left out doesn’t it? I’m sure female-female scenes will be tolerated on the co-ed side, as long as they’re doing it for the enjoyment of the menfolk. A question: do any heterosexual females have the same odd fascination with watching two guys go at it that so many straight men have with girlsex?

Yo quiero Waffle House.

Storms and the Sunset

I’m really amused at how excited I am about the current round of storms here. By the east coast standards of someone who has seen hurricanes, this El Nino crap is pretty tame. But in my five and a half years in San Francisco, this is the first storm I’ve seen which has been even moderately worth paying attention to.

To start with, there was thunder and real lightning, sporadic though it may have been. There was even actual real (almost) hard rain, but of course, this didn’t really compare to the east coast soakers which force even the most arrogant drivers to the side of the road.

All the same, it was pretty, unless you had to experience it as your house was sliding down a hill or rushing down a river. The roomie and I were inspired to make a quick beach trip during a lull on Saturday afternoon, in search of carnage, choppy seas, or at least the woman we’d been watching all weekend on the Weather Channel. We found the choppy seas, but settled on lunch at the Doggie Diner in lieu of the rest.

Aaah, the Doggie Diner on Sloat Blvd…it’s the last relatively-intact remnant of a mid-century Bay Area chain. One still stands in Alameda, but minus the defining doggie. The SF location, across from the zoo and now known as the Carousel, serves up great burgers and chili dogs, and makes you forget completely that you’re in the most pretentious city on the west coast.

People know each other here. People are friendly here. The guys are very cute in that semi-suburban way which says they haven’t yet bought into the wholesale fashion culture mandated east of Twin Peaks. Everybody in the place knew the guy shown above; they talked about how he was going to Chico State now. I had really intense cravings to follow him there, not just becuase he was fuck-gorgeous (which he was) but also because he looked like he was capable of having a really good time on the spur of the moment without getting too complicated or worrying about what he was wearing or how developed his pecs were.

It’s like this all over the Sunset, actually. I worked in the area for a couple of years and was amazed at how different the west side of town is. And while I’m not itching to pull up stakes and move here, I’m also not convinced that this difference is necessarily as bad as we on the “cool side of town” seem to believe.

But I digress. Back to the storm. After the Doggie Diner, we took the unbelievable maze of subdivision roads into Pacifica, where some real weather was starting to kick in. The pier was closed, the roads were getting wetter, and just for a minute it almost looked like an eastern coastal town (except, of course, for the mountain backdrop).

Pacifica is such a creepy place, but I’m fascinated by it. The overall tone is suburban, but I’m not sure if it’s a suburb of San Francisco, Daly City, or just the ocean. It doesn’t really act like a beach town either. Maybe the perpetual fog just attracts those who would rather not be bothered by anyone else and who want an eerily quite space in which to commune with the sea, each other, or whatever.

Darkness set in, and we headed back to the City, still being amused at how exciting this relatively low-level storm seemed given the general blandness of Northern California weather. I watched the Weather Channel some more. This may be the closest experience to a “blizzard watch” I get for a while. That’s probably not a bad thing.

St. Valentine’s Lament


It was Valentine’s Day yesterday and it’s over and I’m glad ‘cuz Valentine’s Day sucks and it signifies no more or less romance in my life than before and the only present I got was from my mom and dad and the biggest theme of my night was perpetually running into an ex that I don’t really want to speak to much anymore and…

Take a breath…

All in all, I guess it wasn’t a bad day. I had a good lunch at a neo-dive called “Redneck Earl’s” in San Mateo. I caught a few minutes of a really good A&E documentary on the Titanic. The rain made for a very nice long sleep last night. I got lots of free beers and shots tonight.

Holeinthewallapalooza at the Eagle tonight was great. Imagine: actual queer rock and roll bands playing in an actual queer bar. I imagine several slumming Castroids probably left without entering, fearing that the Eagle had finally “gone straight”. Rock bands in a queer bar? Couldn’t be…

And there was the cute geeky boy on speed, who wanted to suck my dick “just for a minute”. There’s an ego-booster. I wasn’t his “type”, he said, but he really liked the head of my dick. Swoon… Who could ask for more?

OK, so maybe I’m asking for more.

Maybe it would have been nice to have someone bring me a rose, although I doubt it since the very concept makes me want to puke. Maybe it would have been nice for there to have been something more entertaining on my agenda than watching “Dragnet” reruns. On the other hand, maybe I would have been happier if I HAD stayed home watching “Dragnet” reruns.

Despite all the rhetoric for which I am known, maybe it would be nice to be curled up next to someone I actually like right now. I guess that would be a pretty tall order since I like very few people that I meet, and since the ones I really like are often not at all interested in curling up for a long period of time (if at all).

This begs the question of whether my standards are too high and whether disliking a large part of the population is necessarily a good thing. It’s difficult, you know, realizing that most people really annoy me. It’s uncomfortable to admit that I’m not a “people person” when I’ve really tried to think of myself as one. It’s hard to acknowledge that I’m very often not a huge fan of humanity in general.

Retarded social skills? Perhaps. Low self-image? Maybe. Going to the wrong places? Good thought. Who wants to hang out with someone so damned ornery and negative and cantankerous and anti-social anyway? Or maybe everyone IS really annoying and I’m just better than all of them. This, of course, is the most comfortable way of thinking, but it’s pretty danged hard to defend.

Anyhow, a happy President’s Day to you all.

Amusing and Unamusing

Random things I’m finding amusing this week:

  • There are a frightening number of otherwise intelligent men (both gay and straight) who would rather walk around the city like drowned rats than risk looking “effeminate” by carrying an umbrella.
  • I can’t even make out with someone in a bar without realizing that (a) he has a boyfriend, (b) said boyfriend is watching us in a very unamused fashion, and (c) it turns out that I sort of know this boyfriend via email.
  • There is, on Market Street in San Francisco, a building called the Bong Building.
  • An email spammer advertising collection services was stupid enough to include his phone number in the ad. When I called to request (politely) that he not use this particular marketing technique again, he told me he had to run because my daughter was sucking his cock and he was about to shoot. He’s a true professional. Of course I would never advocate repeated phone calls which might run up his phone bill or anything like that, but his number is available upon request if you’re interested in his services.
  • Heard from the mouth of one “oh so butch” leatherman the back room of a Folsom Street Bar Sunday night: “I was right here when I heard about Princess Diana’s tragedy… (sigh)… I almost had to leave”.
  • At the Polk Street Rendezvous, the cops were called in to arrest an old man sitting at the bar. His crime, horror of horrors, was smoking a cigarette. The patron who called the cops was subsequently barred for life by the bartender, and may find he has trouble getting served anywhere on Polk Street for quite a while. (Thanks to Cavan for this one.)
  • Cocoa Pebbles on sale for $1.99 at the Grocery Outlet. Yay!!!
  • Redneck Earl’s Takeout Barbecue on El Camino Real in San Mateo definitely deserves a visit. They have sweetened iced tea. Those of you who are from the south understand why this is so (a) special and (b) unusual outside Dixie.

Things I’m NOT finding amusing this week:

  • Dilbert.
  • My checking account.
  • Idiots who just moved to the city and really can’t drive, but do anyway.
  • Those same idiots when they park.
  • My savings account.
  • Email addressed “Dear Adult Webmaster”.
  • Valentine’s Day.
  • Puddles. Everywhere…

Two Years of Planet SOMA

Who woulda thunk it? I’m (a) typing my second anniversary “editorial” and (b) so busy these past two weeks or so that I almost missed it? I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started this thing. I was just going to throw up a simple couple of vanity pages with some info about the City, a few dirty pictures, an abbreviated life story, etc. I thought it might get me some interesting email and might even get me laid on occasion.

I was right on both scores (especially the email part), but Planet SOMA turned out to have a little more profound effect than planned. To start with, there are now over 300 pages here. The dirty pictures and sex club info have become the part of the site I care least about and am teetering on the verge of retiring.

And almost a quarter of a million visits to the front page. Jeez…

In the process, I’ve met many interesting people (both in person and in text format), gone some very interesting places, and seen some…ummm…very interesting things. Planet SOMA has been featured on other web sites, in print, and even on a Canadian radio station. I even took the site “on the road” last summer all around the country.

It’s been fun, and thanks to all who have offered support and criticism/commentary, as well as places to sleep and guided tours on the road, not to mention the occasional dinner and cheap sex.

Oh, and the freelance stuff which has come in as a result has been a nice side benefit too, even thought it’s kept me away a good bit lately.

(NOTE: The actual start date of Planet SOMA was 13 January 1996. 2 March was celebrated as the anniversary for the first few years because of some milestone I’ve since forgotten, maybe the addition of the hot counter.)

Randomly Thursday

Random notes:

  • Never realized before that a lot of episodes of “Bewitched” from the final season (1972) were almost verbatim remakes of episodes from the first season (1964). Were they just out of ideas? Or did they figure the old black and white shows would never be shown again? Strange, but kudos to the fine folks at Nick at Nite for helpng to point this out…
  • Why is it that spring cleaning at work is so much faster than spring cleaning at home? It just seems so much easier to throw away old stuff that doesn’t really belong to you…
  • At the ripe old age of 33, I’ve finally realized that people sleep much better if they don’t keep drinking Coke until 15 minutes before bedtime. Brain surgery is next for me, no doubt…
  • Overly-senistive department: an Oakland man has claimed harrasment due to his arresting officer singing “The Pina Collada Song” while he was in custody. He claims racism. I’ll admit it’s bland, stupid, and repetitive, but racist???
  • Miracle: for three straight days, I’ve managed to answer all my email within 24 hours. And get one spamming website shut down in the process…
  • Isn’t porn just more fun if no one’s home and you can turn up the volume and hear every “you like my big cock dontcha” in stereo sound?
  • Isn’t cereal much less fun when you realize (after you start pouring) that you’re just about out of milk? Oops…make that completely out…
  • Amusing Wednesdays at McDonald’s: hamburgers are 29¢. Fries are $1.50. Cokes are $1.25. All hail the triumph of the side dish…
  • The SF Bay Guardian is crying “censorship” over some ads removed from SF Muni buses last month. The ads feature the Guardian’s editor and a caption stating “They’re all crooks in City Hall and I want them exposed.” I’d almost be tempted to suggest the removal of the ads constituted proof of this fact, or at least of the fact that City Hall has no sense of humor…
  • Joke courtesy of Larry-bob: What do you call two men holding hands in the Castro? Tourists.
  • When you call tech support, how does that recorded voice arrive at such estimates as “your call will be answered in one hour and twenty-three minutes”? (Yes…this was an actual call and an actual estimate…)
  • Is anyone as pissed off as I am that Pacific Bell has added the option of three-way calling to all phone lines at a per-use fee of 75¢? And that it’s VERY easy to invoke this feature accidentally, say with modem auto-redials, beacuse you don’t have to dial a special tone? If you’re not amused either, call them (1-800-310-BELL) and have it removed from your line. And tell them why you’re doing it and how tempting it will be to use another local service provider when that option becomes available soon…

Stupid Rude People

Today’s excuse for being irritable, cynical, and negative (HA…as if I needed one…) is related to the fact that I was awakened at 7:30AM by construction workers on my roof, banging around and scraping away at the wall of the next building. Did they care that it was very early on a weekend morning? Did they even bother to ask permission from the owners of my building to be up there? Of course not, because simply being considerate seems not to be something of value in the America of the 90’s.

Why is it that people seem completely oblivious to the fact that there are other people on the road with them, in line behind them, trying to park on the same street as them, and attempting to walk on the sidewalk where they’re clustered? What’s with these assholes who think nothing of coming to a dead stop in a moving traffic lane while they try to figure out which way to go? Where do these idiots who hold up a line of twenty people asking inane questions about the menu in fast food places come from? And who told these stupid self-obsessed yuppies that it was OK to talk on the phone and drive a car at the same time?

OK…enough. Parents just don’t teach their kids to be considerate anymore (might damage Junior’s “self-esteem”) and pushiness is considered a valuable trait in the business world. I should know this by now. And it isn’t likely to change.

On Being a Hermit

I’m not sure at exactly what point that I decided that being a hermit was not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve never made friends really easily, although I have made some very good and close friends over the years. I’ve just never been tremendously social; sometimes it just seems much more of a burden than it’s worth.

I was definitely well-trained for hermitdom (is that a word?) as a child. I didn’t have many friends and I learned early on how to spend time alone, whether I was watching TV, or drawing pictures of buildings and designing houses and stores and making maps of imaginary cities, or reading. It very often bothered me to be disturbed by the reality of having to talk to people and especially to have to explain what I was drawing or reading or watching. All the same, I felt lonely a lot of the time, although I wasn’t bothered enough to do anything much about it.

I guess I learned a few social skills by the time I hit high school. When I entered college and found myself thrust into an environment of people I actually liked and with whom I had things in common, I bloomed into something of a social butterfly. I even got so “social” at one point that I stopped going to class and suddenly found that I can’t even in college anymore. But even then I still spent a good deal of time alone, sometimes by choice and sometimes not.

The real test came the first time I moved away from my hometown. I learned a lot about spending time alone then, even though I really tried to meet people. I still believed at that point that there was something inherently wrong with being alone, especially in places like bars, restaurants, and movie theatres. Apparently, the social skills I’d acquired in college weren’t serving me too well without my support group. I was depressed. But I was also learning a lot about myself. All in all, it doesn’t seem so bad in retrospect.

I did finally meet a whole new circle of friends, even in “soulless” Charlotte. These were some of the most bizarre friends of my entire life, making some of my unusual San Francisco acquaintances seem positively boring in comparison. I’m still in touch with some of the saner members of this crowd.

My first few years in San Francisco were an intense “social” period for me. I surprised myself with my capacity for meeting interesting people. And for picking up fun sex toys in bars and sex clubs. Funny thing was, though, that most of the people I met faded away pretty quickly. Except for my roomie of almost six years, I don’t much talk to (or even see) most of my crowd from the first years I spent here.

There also never seemed to be that one really close friend that I called every day, had dinner with on a regular basis, went to movies with, etc. This was really odd for me, as I’d usually had a friend like that even in my bleakest periods.

All the same, it seems I was always running around doing SOMETHING those first few years here: going to parties, hanging around in the Mission or Lower Haight or (gasp) even the Castro. I had a boyfriend for a relatively long period of time. After I finished with him, I had several “fuck buddies” I played around with between one-night stands. I hit a point where it was hard for me to go anywhere without running into someone I knew, which always seemed to me something that wasn’t supposed to happen in “the big city”.

It was at this point when I started doing Planet SOMA. Things have been going downhill ever since. I don’t think it has anything really to do with the web site, although email has made it easier for me to avoid face to face contact. I’m actually spending less time in front of the computer lately.

But I’ve noticed that it’s increasingly rare that I actually leave the house and do things. When I bother to go out drinking at all, it’s pretty much ALWAYS in the neighborhood. I’m not exploring the rest of the city anymore. It’s rare that I see people I know when I go out. I haven’t picked up anyone in months. I used to cover a lot of ground and see a lot of people and places. Now I read a lot of books. I watch too many “Star Trek” reruns.

Many people have given up on me. I almost never have phone messages, probably because I’m so bad about calling back and arranging meetings. I’m hesitant about making social commitments. For a couple of weeks earlier this year, I rarely left the house at all other than to go to work or Safeway. Thanks to my friend Sarah, I do drag myself out on the occasional Saturday afternoon bookstore/thrift store/burger excursion.

So what’s the story here? Am I just getting old? Are the habits learned in childhood coming back to take over my life? Have I just become a bitter old curmudgeon who is too impatient with the world which surrounds me to be an active participant therein? Or is it just a phase?

I’m not really moping or depressed or anything like that. I just don’t seem to have the energy or the inclination to DO much lately. Should I be worried about this or should I just bask in the joys of being a hermit? I’m not really sure.

The Mailbag

As the creator of a large and fairly popular web site, I get a lot of mail….this is an unavoidable fact. Most of it is kind and complimentary and polite. Much of it is even interesting. Some of it is flat-out rude and filled with personal attacks. I am prepared for this. I express opinions. This is my right. People don’t always agree. This is THEIR right.

Sometimes, people are just plain nasty. An obsession with money will do that:

Jealousy can be an evil thing…Why don’t you start thinking a little… Maybe if you had the brains or wits to be a businessman, you could have an office overlooking the city as well. But since you don’t, you’ll just have to rot away in your apartment and complain about those yuppies who have probably worked their asses off to be where they are.

Kind of cute, isn’t it, that he assumes I WANT a sterile window office where I too can shit on all the little people who worked THEIR asses off to put me there. You can read the full text of this asshole’s rantings (including his assertion that he isn’t a racist) in the Loftomania Feedback section.

For monetary obsession, though, this snail mail takes the cake. Equifax, the large and efficient credit bureau and collection agency sent me a demand for payment. Seems I have a delinquent account at a local emergency care center, which has been referred to them for collection. It is imperative that I pay immediately or face fuher action.

The amount in question? Sixteen cents.

Is it any wonder people no longer have much faith in the American health care industry? Or that I’m starting to lose faith in my fellow man?

Sometimes there are people (as oppposed to corporations like Equifax) who clearly just DON’T GET IT. Case in point:

I hate to say this but this site was the worst Ive seen for state fairs. It did not mention the two most important facts: when the fair was, the article only mentioned sometime in August maybe, or how to get there. Also the pictures were horrible. it leads someone to think that the fair is attended by only bald white males. as im sure it does not.

Im sorry to say but I will not be visiting that site again. I hope no state funds were used in making this travesty, if it were Id be ashamed to be a citizen of California. Please next time if your doing this again to do some homework on your website and make it pleasing to all who might visit it.

Now let me get this straight. This guy is worried that I might get STATE FUNDS to write Planet SOMA? I wish. Obviously, he found the State Fair boy-watching article on a search engine and couldn’t understand that I do not now — nor have I ever — maintained the official California State Fair web site.

Hehe…”state funds”…that one still cracks me up…

Once in a while I get mail complaining about my “negative attitude”. As if a negative attitude was somehow bad:

I found your site to be unnecessarily negative about the area. Why do you live here if you hate it so badly? I think it’s nice and am happy that I’ve “taken the plunge”. I don’t mean to be harsh, but am just concerned that you may give people the wrong impression of SF and the bay area. Please reconsider some of the things that you say in your site, as there’s always a nicer way to put things.

Maybe I should just put a “San Francisco: Love it or leave it” sticker on my car too. I HATE this attitude. I sometimes point out weaknesses of the Bay Area; thus I apparently don’t deserve to live here. Give me a break! I point out problems BECAUSE I love it here. Why is it that New Yorkers get to bitch about their city all the time without having their “loyalty” questioned?

Besides, I ain’t the fucking Chamber of Commerce… Nor am I Bob Damron, provider of la-de-da always positive cookie cutter reviews. Apparently, this rubbed a reader of my bar reviews the wrong way:

The sad queen who wrote this article obviously can’t get her dick sucked anywhere and is mad at the world. Bitch bitch bitch. You wasted my time with the pointless and no too clever catty remarks. Hire a journalist.

I offered “Miss Thing” (seemed appropriate given the lingo of the message) a refund for all the money “she” spent visiting the site. Said refund was never claimed…

My Sensors Weren’t Working

So one night I pick up this boy at Hole in the Wall. It’s last call, he’s cute as can be and he seems no more intoxicated than anyone else there. His look is a tad preppier than I usually like, but he’s got a vaguely unkempt mop on top of his head, which sort of makes up for the Gap boy look. Nothing about him sets off any alarms. We venture off into the night.

Back at my house, I realize he may be a bit drunker than I realized. He keeps telling me how much money he’s carrying. He keeps opening his wallet and showing me. And then he passes out on my bed, fully clothed, about five minutes after arrival. He snores so badly that I decide to sleep on the couch.

About 5:30 in the morning, I hear him moving. Next thing I know, he’s in the living room and on the couch with me. He snuggles up to me and without saying so much as a word, he begins…umm…orally coupulating me. Suddenly he looks up at me and asks me who I am and how he got here. I tell him. He goes back to “work”.

He looks up again, this time as if he’s about to cry.

“I’ve been treated really badly. I’ve had a bad night.”

I wonder at his memory of how bad the night was, especially since he’s not even sure where he is at present. I don’t mention it, though, because now he really IS crying. Seems his boyfriend threw him out last night for some unspecified reason. He starts sucking my dick again. Then he asks me if I’m a white supremacist. I tell him I’m not. He assures me he isn’t either. I’m strangely relieved.

For the next half hour, he alternates between sucking, crying, and plotting revenge against said boyfriend. At some point, I mention the money he’s carrying, and then he really gets freaked out. How did he get so much money? What did he do for it? He rememebers a restaurant. And maybe a hotel room, And maybe some cocaine.

Then he asks if I want to fuck him. To shoot him full of jism. I decline, only partly because he’s crying again and wondering where the money came from.

He’s very excited that I have cranberry juice in my refrigerator, even though he doesn’t drink any. By the way, where is he? Oh…only four blocks from home… He lives in an upsacle apartment building on Folsom. And he’s wearing Banana Republic underwear. He’s very proud of the Banana Republic underwear.

He determines that he needs to go home. He asks if I want to cum before he leaves. I “deserve” it since I’ve been so nice and didn’t rob him and all. He offers me some of his money; after all, he doen’t know where it came from anyway…

Finally he leaves and I get to sleep, secure in the knowledge that he probably couldn’t ever find his way back to my house. I resolve never again to pick up anyone at last call, or at least not until I figure out what the hell is wrong with my usually trustworthy freak sensors…