April Fool

Hee hee hee…

Fifty email messages and counting (which is by far a new Planet SOMA record) about yesterday’s April Fool gag (where I remade Planet SOMA in truly “gay” rainbow-laden style). It was fun. Y’know, it takes a lot of effort to design really ugly web pages. I’ve developed a new respect for those who can do it with a straight face.

I may, however, regret it as I spend Friday ANSWERING those fifty messages. Alas, everyone seemed to “get it” (a testament to the collective IQ of Planet SOMA fans), so there’s no hate mail to publish. But there’s still a few hours to go as I type this.

Recieved the above in the mail today (the REAL mail, with an envelope and a stamp and everything) from Jay. Alas, it was a day late for April Fool’s, but deserves a look anyhow. I guess I’m a real card-carrying homosexual now…

So I guess it’s back now to writing about whatever the hell Planet SOMA is REALLY about. Anybody with any clue what that might be is welcome to contact me. I’m not too sure anymore.

Maybe I’m just feeling blinded by all those animated rainbows…

Planet SOMA: It’s incrediburgable!

I’ve spent my entire Saturday doing some long overdue maintenance on the site. I didn’t plan it that way, but I just got started and couldn’t stop. There’s a little more to be done, but you can check out the re-structured Streets of San Francisco, including an expanded Neighborhoods section and new individual pages on restaurants and non-upscale places to shop.

In addition, I’m redesigning Folsom Street in the 70’s and adding some new content I’ve picked up via email. There’s more to come. I’ve also updated About Yer Humble Host ever so slightly.

Otherwise, I’ve spent the weekend giving HTML lessons to friends, eating lots of Indian food at my former boss’s going away (to Paris) party, and wondering just how long it takes for one’s virginity to grow back after not having sex for a while.

My biggest regret is the frozen pizza I had for lunch. My biggest surpise is that I haven’t turned on the TV or radio all day. My biggest embarrassment is that the phone has not rung. Not once…

I think the situation calls for a shower and a beer. Not necessarily in that order.

I’m off to brave Folsom Street on a Saturday night. If I’m not back in two days, it means I’m in jail for killing some idiot from the Marina or Walnut Creek who got in my way.

9 April 1999

Hallelujah! McDonald’s has added sexual orientation to its non-dicrimination policy. Now queers have the right to cook really vile-tasting fast food for five bucks an hour. I’d imagine domestic partner benefits aren’t an issue. Does Master Ronald even OFFER benefits to his plantation workers? Maybe just to the overseers…

Maybe they need a visit from Michael Moore and crew. Yer humble host is most excited about his new show, The Awful Truth, which starts this weekend on Bravo. Michael Moore rules the universe as I currently see it. Among the planned excursions on the show: Michael drives a van full of sodomites through states which still have sodomy laws, videotaping the felonies they commit therein.

Beats hell out of another Friends re-run, huh?

In other breaking news, I’ve managed (thanks to Dan) to obtain something I’ve been wanting for a long time: an original Charles Chips cannister. For those of you who have no clue what a Charles Chip might be, this was a company which used to do weekly home delivery of potato chips. Yes, it sounds as strange to me as it does to you.

My aunt next door got Charles Chips delivered. Most of my other neighbors did too. I always felt a little inadequate as a child because we never had one of these cans in my house. Mom and Dad boughts Lay’s at Winn-Dixie instead.

But now I have one. My life is almost complete.

Sunday Nights

I hate Sunday nights.

Since I have to be up on at a reasonable hour on Monday mornings, I have to go to sleep at a reasonable hour on Sunday nights. And, of course, the minute I turn off the lights and try to go to sleep, I find myself wide awake and worrying. Worrying about everything I should have been dealing with during the day. Worrying about everything in my life which bothers me.

And there’s a lot bothering me…

I’m worried that I’m merely coasting along in life, not accomplishing much of anything on a personal or a professional level. I’m worried that I live in a pretty expensive apartment (by the standards of most of the country) in an outrageously expensive city and that I’m just one step ahead of the bills. I’m worried that I don’t seem to be doing much about this situation.

I’m worried that my parents are getting older and that their only son lives three thousand miles away and only sees them once a year or so. I’m worried that my relationship with my mom or my dad could end unexpectedly with one phone call in the middle of the night.

I’m worried that my bad habits may catch up with me soon. I’m worried about becoming a big fat slob. I’m worried that I don’t go out or hang out with friends like I used to, and that lately I can’t even manage the simple task of anwering email messages from people who went to the effort to compliment my site or whatever.

I’m worried that I function just fine on a day-to-day basis, but that the weeks pile up and I realize I haven’t really DONE much of anything. I haven’t found a purpose or a vocation in life. I haven’t bought new furniture for the apartment. I haven’t started than book I’m going to write nor that new program I’m going to learn. I haven’t fixed the sideview mirror of my car nor made those two phone calls to old friends I need to make. Et cetera.

I’ll wake up on Monday morning (in about six hours to be specific) and I’ll feel fine, if a bit sleepy. And the whole cycle will start over. Before I know it, another week will have passed.

And I’ll still hate Sunday nights. Sorry if this was a bit of a downer.

13 April 1999

So yesterday sucked, but I’m well-fed and relatively happy today. Amazing what a few quality moments in the frozen-food aisle at Costco can do.

Mmmmm…bulk shopping. Ten-packs of videotapes, mayonnaise in jars the size the size of some small cars, and mile-long frozen kielbasa. Boxed sets of Andy Griffith Show re-runs and Teletubbies adventures. All the second-rate Disney movies and books by Tom Brokaw. And, of course, the piece de resistance: the food counter with those “hot dog and a Coke for 69 cents” or whatever combos. What’s not to love?

Speaking of consumer frenzy, why is it that I always buy a bunch of three bananas at the store and always (without fail) end up eating one and eventually throwing away the other two?

Still speaking of consumer frenzy, they just mentioned both Kinko’s and Photoshop on “King of the Hill”. Whatever happened to the Megalomart?

And speaking of prime time cartoons, I’m sorry to hear that Wilma Flintstone is dead. I’m even sorrier that, if I’d said “Jean Vander Pyl is dead”, no one would know who I was talking about.

Still speaking of prime time cartoons, SF Mayor Willie Brown is doing his own show on cable TV. How much do you bet he won’t be asking himself many hard questions? And how much do you bet he’ll always be quite fashionably dressed?

And speaking of fashionable, what is this fixation that very faggot in America has with Abercrombie and Fitch all of a sudden? I found more links to THEIR web site than I did to the Advocate while researching the April Fool’s gag. It’s sort of become an instant cliche. I just don’t get it…

And yes, I’ll stop now, before I start another completely random free association…


Damn it was hot the past couple of days…

Of course, by San Francisco standards, this means it may have hit 80F (27C). Longtime readers know that I have no great love for overabundant sunshine or hot weather. It’s especially annoying given that it was rainy and windy and pretty damned cold last week. A little compromise might have been nice.

I felt precariously clse to white trashdom Thursday night as I sat here in front of the fan, with the TV tuned to “Scared Straight: 20 Years Later”, and wearing nothing but a pair of beat-up gym shorts. I felt the urge to put an old upholstered sofa out on the porch and have a beer.

Of course, I then realized that, while I do have a deck (which is sort of a porch) I still don’t own a sofa right now, upholstered or otherwise.

Tonight’s plan is to hit one of the local taverns and pick up some nice boy with an air-conditioned apartment.

Yeah, I know I’m a weather wimp. I realize that my definition of “hot” may sound a little ridiculous. The lack of a discernible summer is one of the main reasons I moved to San Francisco, and one of the things which may ultimately keep me here. It’s pretty much a given that I’ll never get the urge to move to Florida or Palm Springs.

Things I love today: air-conditioned supermarkets, Frosted Mini-wheats, re-watching my video of US Tour 1997 for the first time in months, not shaving.

Things I hate today: Gap commercials, parking tickets, the moths which have invaded my kitchen, the weather, perpetual construction everyplace I go.

Things I wish I had today: a sofa, a Double-R Bar Burger from Roy Rogers, an air conditioner, the time to take a good road trip.

Happy Birthday, Jeff

1985: Jeff at age 6

My friend Jeff in North Carolina turns 20 today. That’s the age he’s giving. Who am I to argue? I’ve only known him since 1980, so I can’t really say for sure. A big old “happy birthday” anyhow, despite the fact that Jeff opted to pass the milestone in Myrtle Beach rather than San Francisco.

So I’m working my butt off this weekand finding very little time to do much with the site.

For those who are following closely, I have finally moved all the relevant phone lines and moved my office into its new home (thanks to Dan for the assist). Aside from the fact that I can now avoid working by looking out the big bay window, I can also hear it when the trash truck comes.


Having just returned from running my trash downstairs in my bathrobe, I’ll continue babbling about nothing now. OK…maybe I’ll babble about the cute garabage man who let me throw the bag into the truck all by myself. He smiled at me. Awww…

Mistake of the week: frozen chopped collards. Fear them.

Disappointment of the week: no flowers on Secretaries Day.

Frightening sight of the week: the phone tree in my basement as I tried to figure out what line went where.

Meet Irma

OK…I admit it. I sat here and watched the entire “Patty Duke Show” reunion movie. It was silly. It was hokey. It was just plain stupid. And still I watched every damned minute of it.

I need a new hobby.

Apologies again for my lack of wordiness lately. I’ve been working a lot and frankly I haven’t been really excited at the prospect of spending even more time in front of the computer.

And there’s someone new in my life. Someone who will stand by me in times of need without questioning my moods or my decisions. Someone who will wait by the window until I get home. Someone who will offer me not only companionship, but also life-giving oxygen.

Meet Irma:

Look for us to start sharing our exciting and environmentally sensitive adventures together very soon.

Stupid Parents

So just exactly when did parents become so convinced that (a) their offspring is welcome in every situation and (b) the needs and wants of said offspring outweigh those of all other individuals nearby?

Recently, I was at a demolition. There was this cute little family with a stroller. What the hell were these idiots thinking by bringing a baby to something like the implosion of a 16-story building? This thing was LOUD. Dust and smoke enveloped the surrounding area. This was no place for a toddler.

And, of course, Mom and Dad not only brought the kid. They also argued with the cops, trying to get even CLOSER than the barriers allowed. For the sake of their child, I hope whatever defective gene its parents have skips a generation.

After the blast, we crowded onto a streetcar, and I mean “standing room only” (and not much of that). Part of the problem was this stupid bitch with a stroller. A BIG stroller. It was parked in the middle of the aisle. In the first row of seats. By the fucking DOOR.

Mom and friend had obviously gotten on before the crowd hit. They could have chosen any seat on the train. They could have brought along a foldable stroller. They chose, however, to park the damned thing right in the path of everyone getting on or off the train.

I fear for the poor child with the mother who is not only an idiot, but an INCONSIDERATE idiot…

I Want My Recession Back

When I first moved here in 1992, San Francisco (and California) were still feeling the lingering effects of a major recession.

I want it back.

It sure was fun here back then. Things were expensive here even then, but people with marginal jobs and marginal incomes could still move to the city and have intereting lives. It was possible to share an apartment for a few hundred dollars a month. It was possble to rent whole houses in Potrero Hill for about a thousand a month. If you looked hard enough, you could still find a certain seediness even in sanitized zones like the Castro, in places like Castro Sataion or the doughnut shop across the street.

South of Market was a great place: it was cheap, you could park on the street, the bars were fun, and you could even find … ummm … companionship walking down Folsom Street or among the still-industrial alleys. South of Market residents were a quirky and odd bunch, and most of my friends couldn’t believe I lived here. AIDS paranoia was lifting and the “new golden age” of sex clubs like Mike’s Night Gallery and the Church was flourishing in cheap Victorian flats. And a live/work loft was a drafty warehouse which provided cheap space for artists.

The dowdy, 70s-era Safeway down the street was never crowded. The 12-Folsom buses ran on time. Sort of.

The came the boom. Now the economy is jumping. What have we gained?

First of all, it ain’t “jumping” for everyone. A certain set of skills is needed for this economy and not everyone has them (or can get them). And, of course, what’s really “jumping” is low-paying service jobs, which means a smaller proportion of people are making any money anyhow. And these jobs most definitely don’t pay enough to survive in the new San Francisco of $1000/month studio apartments and $400,000 one-bedroom condos.

So once again, what have we gained?

A new whiter and wealthier demographic, for starters. The marginal types who used to make the city lively and interesting can’t afford to move here anymore. San Francisco has always depended on new arrivals of artists, musicians, and immigrants both for its character and to staff its many service jobs. Sure…we’ve added new jobs, but most of these jobs just won’t pay the rent. Very soon we may face a city populated by upscale citizens who wonder why (a) it’s just not very exciting here anymore and (b) why Starbuck’s can’t “just hire more people” so the latte lines would move faster.

We’ve also gained the privilege of living with perpetual construction. Everywhere. It’s noisy, it’s irritating, and it slows down the traffic (which has also increased). We get to watch neighborhoods overrun with poorly-designed plywood “luxury condos” and wall-to-wall chain stores.

We’ve become a city which targets the homeless rather than the economic and development issues which make MORE people homeless. We gleefully allow developers to destroy neighborhoods and drive up rents in the name of “progress” and then run the displaced out of town or throw them in jail.

We’re fast becomg a city of chain stores and trendy bistros and brewpubs, where it’s easier to buy a $400 lamp than a $4 hammer. We’ve sanitized our back alleys, eliminated smoke-filled bars, and all but guaranteed that anyone who can’t make the cut financially or socially will not be able to move here and cause trouble.

South of Market bars are packed to the rafters with gawkers looking for a scene which hasn’t existed here in quite some time (not that they want to PARTICIPATE in this no longer extant scene, mind you). I don’t dare drive anyplace during the week, lest I find myself unable to park when I get home. Even the tastefully renovated Safeway is a nightmare.

Yup. Things are jumping in San Francisco. This economic boom has a lot of people thinking about jumping the hell out of here.

I miss my recession…

30 April 1999

I have a confession to make. I was not completely honest about Irma, the new love in my life, in Wednesday’s journal entry. The truth is, when Irma moved in, she brought her entire family. Please forgive this lack of forthrightness.

See pictures of Irma and the kids.

Should be an interesting weekend when Erik visits my increasingly-crowded apartment. You may remember Erik from such road trips as Minneapolis 1998 and Las Vegas 1998. I hope he won’t be jealous. And I hope he brings me some Count Chocula.

Erik in Pirate Country

In other news, Dan has informed me that Tad’s Steaks on Powell Streets will be closing at the end of June. I’m pretty pissed, because this is one of my favorite dives in the entire city. The rumor is that it will be replaced by yet another trendy pasta joint. Just what San Francisco needs…

Look for a farewell review of Tad’s soon. And look for an epitaph for all remaining reality and grittiness in San Francisco soon afterward. The mochafrappuchinozation of the city continues unabated…

Now I’m off to visit the Smog Check people as I’ve procrastinated my car registration into a minor crisis.

Irma and the Kids

Great. In March, I lose the roomie and get the place to myself. By April, I’ve already found that elsusive soulmate (hanging around at the Home Depot in Colma, as it happens) and moved her into my home. With her whole damned family…

This is Irma. She watches over me from the window of my office. You might say that Irma inspires all my work. Or then again, you might not…


These two live in the kitchen. They do not have names yet. Irma has offered to allow Planet SOMA’s faithful readers to name them. Irma, however, is a control freak and reserves the right to ignore all submissions she hates.


More kitchen kids. The two smaller ones also have no names. The older one hanging from the ceiling is Cecil. He likes hanging from the ceiling. I think it’s sex thing. I also think Cecil and Irma are seeing each other behind my back.