Housekeeping and Dream Whip

Dang. It sure is quiet in here…

OK, so everyone’s really sick of reading about my new adventures setting up housekeeping alone. No one cares that I now own my own vacuum cleaner for the first time since 1989. Everyone’s lost interest in my trendy new cookware and my new shower curtain and matching bath towels from Target. And everyone’s really pissed that I seem to have stopped answering email.

Too damned bad. That, and a disturbing amount of work, is about all that’s going on for me right now.

The highlight of my weekend was a shopping excursion with Sarah to the thrift stores and strange closeout warehouses of Redwood City. I bought Drano and forks and bowls. I deviated from the domestic theme by picking up this really great beat-up army jacket. I also found a cool mug which says “no smoking”. I fully intend to use it as an ashtray.

But the real find was the Arabic box of Dream Whip you see above. It’s comforting to know that if I ever find myself in the heat of the Middle East longing for instant non-dairy whipped topping, I’ll probably be able to find it.

Coming tomorrow: my hastily-composed Planet SOMA Third Anniversary Address. Coming the next day: more exciting stories of domestication, including a euphoric essay on my new chair.

Why yes, my life IS a bit tedious this week, thank you…

Three Years of Planet SOMA

Yer humble host in 1996…

Three years ago today was the official “grand opening” of Planet SOMA.

Needless to say, things have changed somewhat. All in all, it’s been an interesting three years. I’ve met interesting people, been interesting places, and actually forged a bit of a career out of this “web thing”.

Thanks to everyone who’s visited over the years, sent email of support (or dissent), hosted me on a road trip, consented to sleep with me, or just hung out with me in sleazy diners. And thanks to Trey for creating the first blatant infringement on Planet SOMA’s name and layout. My lawyers would be contacting him soon had I not foolishly offered blanket permission. Damned Southern charm…

For the past two years, I’ve unveiled some great new feature or design for “anniversary day”. No such luck this year, although I’ve been tweaking the design for a month or so (and am pretty much done for now) and I DID add that search engine last week.

So I’ll just say “thanks” again and hope you stop back by once or twice in the next three years.

(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 Saturday

Random thoughts generated by a short attention span on a Saturday morning:

  • Eggo frozen waffles really ARE better than store brands.
  • Obsessively cleaning one’s apartment for the first time in over six years can result in the discovery of a surprising amount of money.
  • Supposing I wrote stories about what a hot college jock I am. Think I could make any money selling my dozen recently-unearthed pairs of old shoes at one of those foot fetish sites?
  • Some idiot just called me (on the phone) trying to “get the website for San Francisco city guides”. I have no idea what he was talking about. I have even less idea how he got my number.
  • Does anyone remember the mystical and magical show called “Night Flight” which used to run on the USA Network before said cable channel became flat out useless?
  • Speaking of the old videotape I’m watching from 1988: does anyone else find it a huge injustice that Dusty Springfield will never sing again but that the Pet Shop Boys probably will?
  • I am convinced that the lead singer of the New Radicals does not really sing. He’s merely an adorable boy who’s lip synching to previously unreleased World Party songs.
  • Will I ever have a boyfriend who has a washer and dryer in his home?
  • One more time: why does it cost 25-50 cents more to sell a gallon of gas in northern California than anywhere else in the country (or even the state)? And why is milk twice as expensive here in the largest dairy-producing state? And why is it impossible to buy a decent tomato here?

At the Laundromat

The uninspiring photos of consumer products continue…

I made my quarterly visit to the laundromat on Sunday. I’d never before hit the place so early (11:30) on a Sunday morning. What an odd cast of characters…

Most prominent was this vapid-looking fag who seemed to have just stepped out of the pages of Circuit Noise or some similar inanity. A classic 90’s clone he was, with his Adidas sweat pants and Kangol cap. I was fascinated by him in a disaster movie kind of way.

To begin with, I couldn’t quite understand how such a party boy could be functional at such an early hour on Sunday. Of course it finally dawned on me that he was probably still experiencing Saturday night at the time. His “designer scruffy” companion definitely looked a little disheveled, sort of like a street person who had nothing but skin care products in his shopping cart and did all his dumpster-diving outside The Gap.

But the thing that really fascinated me was his collection of laundry. How could one person own so damned many tiny little white knit tank tops? Each one he folded obsessively, as if they were later to be shrink-wrapped. It was mind-boggling.

Of course he may have been wondering about all those black T-shirts in my pile too…

There were others: the usual collection of street people, the disarmingly cute Russian guy, the evil bitch who dispenses change with a scowl (if at all), and a large number of Latinos, which is fairly unusual since the Tenderloin is primarily a Southeast Asian and skate rat neighborhood.

I like my laundromat. It’s huge. The machines are in good shape and there are dozens of dryers. And — this is a biggie when you only do laundry every three months — it has a parking lot. I was a little alarmed that I wasn’t very alarmed by very drugged woman who was sobbing loudly in said parking lot. At least she didn’t try to bum a cigarette…

Kvetching with Kmetko

So apparently I told the anchor of a daily nationwide cable TV show to “bite my ass” via email last night without even knowing who I was talking to at the time.

Before I headed out to the corner bar to celebrate my sexuality last night, I got this email message:

Not all gay people are as educated or sophisticated as you. High standards? Please forgive us, Mr. Snooty Britches. Far be it from me to assign blame, but aren’t you being just a tad self-important?

Celebrate, don’t denigrate. There’s room for all of us. You’re dangerously close to perpetuating the gay stereotype of homosexual cannibalism.

With all due respect, knock it off.

“Celebrate, don’t denigrate”? Give me a fucking break…

I’ll admit I was sort of amused by the “Mr. Snooty Britches” bit , but the “knock it off” bugged me, as did the fact that the poor soul couldn’t even tell me what specifically had pissed him off so much. So I replied, telling him “with all due respect, bite my ass”.

Little did I know, until Sarah pointed it out, that the name was a semi-famous one. A check of my access logs confirmed that I probably was indeed corresponding with the celebrity in question. Now that I know who he is, I’m even more honored to have annoyed him (and no, I’m not mentioning his name).

He wrote back, of course, as do most of the fluffy gay boys who are pissed that I don’t tow the Advocate-style “gay is great, gay is good” party line all the time. And, as usual, he was no more specfic the second time…just bitchier…

Of course, I probably deserved it for not being suitably deferential and for not knowing who the hell he was. Or for (gasp) stooping to criticism of some aspect of our “community”.

Naah. Fuck that. I’ll just look on it as a fun story to tell in bars. Besides, maybe I’ll get some extra hits when he sends all his WeHo clone buddies over to be horrified by my nasty attitude…

Randomly San Francisco

So just when I’m starting to get excited about living alone in the Planet SOMA factory, I find out that for the next three to six months I will be living in a construction zone.

Between the freeway retrofit, which should be noisy as hell and will eliminate an unbelievable amount of parking, and the ugly loftominium going up across the street, life should really suck for a while. Earning the rent should be pretty easy, though, considering I’ll never be able to sleep past 7AM, or to leave the house in my car (assuming I plan to park it when I get home).

The freeway is a necesary evil, I understand. The loft isn’t. Here’s a thought: if my new neighbors have a right to shut down (or curtail) bars and clubs because of the noise, don’t I have the right to stop construction of a new yuppie slum for the same reason?

Probably not…

Interesting story on SF gay nightlfe in today’s paper. Seems our “community” has “grown up” enough to be fascinated by sterile bars with more upscale patrons. Much of the Castro is jumping on this bandwagon. Shouldn’t be a very long jump…

Fortunately, the South of Market dives are still dark, dirty, and smoker-friendly (for now), and I’ve neer seen anyone reading the Wall Street Journal in My Place. Down here, it is still possible to engage in a semi-public dalliance (as I did last night) with a boy who looked like a cuter version of Beck and his dreadlocked friend. I’m not sure if they were a couple.

Speaking of dives, there’s a new diner on the site, should you care…

Furniture and Beer

I’m re-furnishing my house courtesy of Sarah and Brad. So far I’ve added the coolest butterfly chair in the world as well as a drafting table. They’re great…sort of like a surrogate aunt and uncle. Except that they’re both younger than I am. And they have cooler stuff than my aunts and uncles.

Strangely sociable weekend. Went to Jack’s in the Mission Friday night to see Rae and Michael as they visited from Portland, along with Dawson, Paula, Shawn and two other very nice people whose names I now do not remember. There are more pictures. They’re not significantly better than the one above. Dark bars do not photograph well.

On Saturday, I had dinner with the ex-roomie and visited my former sofa. The sofa seems very happy in its new home. It has lots of light and a new blanket and a bigger TV. It also has an adjacent futon with which to pass time during the day. It’s a happy sofa indeed. Dan seems pretty happy too.

Biff and Muffy

Ever wonder what I mean by “Financial District yuppie scumbag”? Here’s a classic, almost cliché example I witnessed today in the actual Financial District involving an actual yuppie scumbag:

Biff was sitting in his BMW, chatting away on his cell phone. He was double-parked in the path of a bus. The bus could not get around him. The bus driver blew his horn.

Biff was obviously unconcerned about anything but his conversation, and about making sure everyone knew he was more important than any of the lowly slobs on the bus. Biff would not move. Period. After a few minutes, Biff even got out of his BMW to yell at the bus driver rather than move his car ten feet.

Biff is an asshole. Biff deserved to have things thrown at him by the passengers on the bus. Biff is so self-obsessed that he believed himself to be the victim (“how dare he interrupt my important business call”) even though Biff himself was clearly the one in the wrong.

Biff reminds me of another Financial District yuppie scumbag (let’s call her “Muffy”) who once threatened to sue ME when I grabbed her hands and told her to stop poking me in the face and screaming at me.

Biff and Muffy are becoming way too common in San Francisco these days.

Biff and Muffy must be stopped.

At the Track

Sure, the news today had stories about the fact that we now seem to be at war. There was also mention of the fact the Fred Phelps made his semi-annual visit to San Francisco on Friday (he’s done wonders for queers ever since we put him on the payroll as official spokesidiot for bigotry).

But today’s completely unnewsworthy story on horse racing at Golden Gate Fields was the one which caught my eye. You see, I grew up going to the horse races and I know what a wondrous thing it is.

About twice a year, my mom and dad and I (sometimes with my grandmother) would pack up the car bound for a little town called Charles Town, West Virginia and go to the races.

The trip was pretty similar each time. The first day, we’d drive up, check into our motel, hit that night’s races, and have a late snack at the diner downtown. On the second day, we’d drive to wherever there were races in the suburbs of Washington or Baltimore. My dad would watch the horses and my mom and I often hit a mall or whatever. Back to Charles Town that night for a repeat. On the third and final day, we’d either go to Washington (for culture) or one of the big theme parks in Virginia (for fun) and then home.

These were great trips. They weren’t really about gambling (although I did learn how to pick a winner). For me, and I suspect somewhat for my mom and dad as well, they were largely about people-watching. Some of the strangest characters in the world lurk about eastern race tracks: big fat drunk guys in plaid sportcoats, scary kids who looked like modern adaptations of Dickensian orphans, bored and damaged-looking mothers…

The food was great too: no frills pizza and hot dogs and hamburgers. There was lots of beer, too, but my mom and dad didn’t drink. The whole atmosphere was so incredibly seedy. I loved it. It prepared me for the pockmarked urban landscapes I love to this day. It was all about the working class (or maybe not even as well-to-do as that…)

Somehow, I can’t imagine that any track in the increasingly trendy and sanitized Bay Area could match up to Charles Town or Laurel or Timonium. No doubt, the uptight soccer moms of Marin County would be horrified at the idea of a child visiting such a place. It’s just too real for our sophisticated palates. I envision lattes and biscotti and sandwiches on focaccia.

But maybe I’m wrong. Anybody wanna check it out with me? Casino gambling bores me. Dog racing horrifies me. But I could be in the mood to hang out with the horses this week.

Acceptable Week

All in all, I’d have to say it’s been a pretty acceptable week.

I was a little disturbed by life last week (you’ll thank me for sparing you the details and the whining), but things look a little brighter now. The financial traumas associated with setting up housekeeping alone have eased a bit. The construction across the street has become a little less annoying.

And I found a great new dive with an irresistable name: Big Joe’s Broiler #2. Look for a review soon.

My new part-time boss even scored points today. We were talking about Sunday’s demolition at SF State and about Detroit when he recommended a book I should read. Turns out it’s one of my all-time favorites, The New American Ghetto by Vergara (note the shameless marketing link…twice even…) When someone recommends one of my favorite books, I’m pre-disposed to like him, because (a) my favorite books are very specific types, and (b) my favorite books are really obscure.

I’ve even paid this month’s bills already. Some of them were even on time!

And I’m only four shows short of my complete set of “Streets of San Francisco” episodes on tape. I’ll have them all by Friday. There’s a database involved. Even my hobbies are becoming geeky…

On the other hand, I’m still behind on the email. Really behind. Up to a month in some cases. I seem to have developed this really bad mental block when it comes to email.

Yeah, I’m babbling and writing about nothing, I know. Maybe it’s best that I’m not answering email…