The Best Way to Cure a Cold

Imagine you’re getting a cold. What are you going to do? Take the wimpy way out and stay in bed drinking lots of fluids? Or go on a boat in the middle of San Francisco Bay on a cold, wet, windy, foggy day?

Yer humble host chose the latter option. Does this qualify for me for the “tourguide of the year” award? Or should I just write an Idiot Factor column about myself? Oh well. Erik got good views of the bridge (from the underside) and I got good greens at Kelly’s. Plus it was my idea so I have only myself to blame.

So anyway, now I’m tired, I have a scratchy throat, and I’m turning my attention to Mother’s Day and other exciting May events, even though I can’t really think of any exciting May events right off hand.

Tomorrow, I may start catching up on the email, editorialize about efforts to reopen bathhouses in San Francisco, and maybe even name some of the plants. But tonight I’m going to watch cartoons and go to bed.

The Loft That Ate Langton Street

So the piece of shit yuppie slum across the street just gets taller and taller and uglier and uglier, once again begging the question of just who pays $350,000 or more to live in a drafty condo constructed of plywood? And given the IQ level of these individuals, do I really want them as neighbors?

There’s a good article in the generally useless SF Weekly this week about the Planning Commission’s latest “live/work reforms”.

All the same, I know the neighborhood is not completely sanitized yet. I watched a guy break into a car the other night from my office window. It was a BMW and it had a loud car alarm, so it was hard to find much sympathy. Besides, what was I going to do? Call the police? By the time they arrived, the guy would have been long gone. I, on the other hand, would have been kept up way past my bedtime.

Note to assholes in BMWs: car alarms do absolutely NO good and often make people even LESS likely to help you out.

Also on this exciting Friday morning, I’ve been spammed by voice mail. I’m not talking about a telemarketer who left a message. Someone apparently got a list of voice mail boxes within Pacific Bell and spewed forth an ad within the system suggesting that recipients call his “information line”. Of course, Pac Bell’s response to my complaint did little to inspire confidence that it won’t happen again.

Still working on naming those plants and still thinking about that bathhouse issue. And look for some other really bitchin’ cool stuff tomorrow or Sunday…

An Actual Enjoyable Weekend


Well, shut my mouth!

For the first time in recent memory, I went out on a Saturday night and actually had good time. Regulars will know that Saturday night (a/k/a “amateur night”) is usually my least favorite night to go out in the neighborhood, or just about anyplace else. On Saturday nights, every bar in the world is populated by drunk idiots from the ‘burbs, circuit queens from hell, etc.

Tonight was different, though. The losers must have gone someplace else for the night. I ran into friends, got cruised quite heavily on mulitiple occasions, and even had not one but two enjoyable bits of oral copulation. There’s something quite mystical about having a cute 22-year-old on his knees looking up longingly at you.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good weekend, although I spent most of it at home working on a Mother’s Day video for my mom. Yes, I am aware that today is Mother’s Day, and yes, it is going to be delivered late. Mom is comfortable with this.

Had a great Friday night with Sarah, featuring dinner at Tad’s (which may or may not be closing, but look for a review in a few days) and dessert at David’s Delicatessen. Point of interest: Harold’s International Newsstand (Geary at Taylor) may be San Francisco’s best boy-watching bet of the week on Friday nights.

And we met the San Francisco Twins! They even agreed to appear in my Mother’s Day video. San Franciscans in the know will understand what a major coup this is. I’ll explain it to the rest of you later.

And one of my design babies (in this case a re-design) went live today too. Go visit, and tell your Cruisemaster how spiffy it looks. He spent a long night uploading last night.

I’m going to bed now, before I have a chance to lose this rare good mood.

A Quandary of Queers, A Lick of Lesbians

Just like we have herds of cattle and flocks of seagulls, I’ve decided that a pack of queers is a “quandary” and a pack of Lesbians is a “lick”. Yes, faggots run in packs. That’s no secret. And it’s also no small source of consternation for me, as a bit of a loner and a hermit.

What really bugs me, though, is the type of fag who goes out to bars with his entourage and cruises up a storm but never once leaves his impenetrable fortress of friends. And then he complains about how he never meets anyone when he goes to bars.

“People cruise me and smile at me, but no one ever talks to me,” the little wanker whines. What the hell does he expect? No one could get near him all night.

I’m sure there’s some sociological explanation for this “herding urge” among Sodomites. And I’m sure it’s related to the reason why some people are completely unable to eat at restaurants alone, go to movies alone, etc. A lot of people seem completely terrified of EVER being alone, particularly in a public place.

Maybe I’m the weirdo here. I almost always go to bars alone, because I almost always go to bars to meet people or to run into acquaintances I wouldn’t see anyplace else. If I want to socialize and converse with friends, a bar would be the last pace I’d do so. Who wants to have a conversation when you have to shout and strain to hear every word?

A case in point from a recent Saturday night: I supsect that the aforementioned whiny wanker (so named because that’s how he’ll end up spending the evening) also wanted to meet people, which is why he came to the bar in the first place. But he was so terrified of being alone (or of being SEEN alone) that he probably didn’t meet ANYONE.

Very few people, in my observation, are willing to walk up to a crowd of strangers and just jump right into the conversation. I’m not. On the other hand, many people will walk upto an individual standing alone (trust me). If the guy above had just once stopped staring a hole in my crotch from within his crowd and had actually walked away and done so away from them, we might be going at it like rabbits even now.

Instead, he chose the coy option I refer to as “cutesy cruising”; he alternated between talking to his pals and staringing pointedly in my direction for 20 minutes, never leaving his perch. I got bored with it and moved on, even though I would like to have met him, particularly given his obvious and intense interest. I found a substitute. I’m sure he went home and pouted because no one would approach him.

A couple of tips:

  • First, try going to bars alone once in a while. Once there, try spending a few minutes not being in the center of a group of friends. Believe it or not, it is quite possible to enjoy being in a bar without spending every minute talking to someone. If nothing else, the people-watching can be fun.
  • If you’re really hot for someone and he’s cruising back, excuse yourself from your circle of friends for a minute. Go to the bar or the bathroom and take your time coming back. Get by yourself for a few minutes.
  • If you can’t do either of the above, then walk over and introduce yourself to the guy. He’s not going to invade your crowd, but you could invade his solitude. If he’s been cruising you too, that’s probably what he’s waiting for.

On 1984

Fifteen years ago today was the day I realized I was falling hard. So began my first really big and heartbreaking case of unrequited love. The whole thing seems pretty trivial in retrospect, but at the time, I was a complete and total wreck. The three or four of you faithful readers who were there at the time will probably not dispute this.

Quickie version of the story: he was a friend who MIGHT have wanted to be more than a friend but, if so, he was unable to admit it. And I didn’t help the situation much with my own lack of honesty about my own feelings. And after many months of this drama, we actually got drunk and slept together. That was the beginning of the end.

Lest this sound like some cheesey “coming out” story, it’s not. We were both quite “out” at the time, thank you.

I have never been such a mess in my entire life. I couldn’t think of anything else. I let my entire life go to hell. I cried my eyes out weekly, and sometimes daily. I made my friends crazy with my depression and most of them never even knew what was causing it. I dropped out of school. I nearly dropped out of life, although not in a suicidal sort of way.

I often wonder if I EVER completely recovered from this one.

Since 1984, I’ve never let myself become so obsessed with anyone (although I have gotten moderately obsessed once or twice). This is probably a good thing, but I sometimes wonder if maybe I didn’t go a little too far in the opposite direction. I came out of it all perhaps a little less loving and giving and a little more selfish, particularly with respect to relationships.

Obviously I can’t blame every “negative” apsect of my life on this one failed romance. I was 19 years old; everything is a crisis by definition at at that age. But I did learn some frightening truths about myself from it. And this one coupling has affected every subsequent one at least in some ways.

1984 has some mighty tall and lingering shadows for me. All in all, I don’t much miss it…


It’s days like this which restore my excitement about the web. I rarely ever sit in front of the computer for hours randomly following links anymore, but today I did. Here are a few of my major starting points:

Yeah, I’m a nerd and I’m comfortable with that. This is the kind of stuff I read for entertainment. It’s the kind of stuff which got me excited about the web to begin with: obsessive information sites on obscure topics done by actual individuals with no corporate funding nor stock offerings to be seen.

I like to think I made my contribution to this field with Folsom Street in the 70s. And I’m working on a few more in my spare time, including a “Streets of San Francisco” page (on the TV series, not the actual streets) and some “then and now” photographs of certain cities.

This is self-publishing in its purest form: total narrowcasting which doesn’t attempt to reach everyone on the planet and doesn’t rely on slow-loading animations and other superfluous gadgetry to convey its message. These sites are about information, not flash. They’re about personal interests, not profit.

And Microsloth will probably never try to buy them out. Many of them, like Planet SOMA, have been sailing along in realtively low-tech bliss for years. Their creators don’t get paid to maintain these sites; they do it because they enjoy it. Here are a few which might be worthy of your attention:

Check ’em out on your way to whatever “dotcom” is having the most exciting IPO of the week…

18 May 1999

Aaahh, Tuesday. Thanks to a lack of new and exciting sweeps programming on Fox, I get an extra primetime episode of The Simpsons, bringing the daily total to four. Heaven…


So after threatening to get sick for a couple of weeks, I finally went ahead and did it this past weekend. It’s pretty much over now; I’ve arrived at the phlegm-purging phase now. Sorry if that was a little more detail than you were looking for.

Suffice to say I’m going through kleenex at an alarming rate. And lest there be trademark issues over the use of the term “kleenex”, let me make it clear that I am in fact using that particular product (Kleenex Cold Care with Lotion, to be specific) and not some other brand. This is not a paid testimonial.


This week I’m re-reading both “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac (in the bathroom) and “Mad Monks on the Road” by the Monks (in the bedroom). I sense a theme developing here. I haven’t spent any time out of the Bay Area since Christmas. I haven’t done a major road trip since last year’s second annual US Tour.

I need to be on the road. Soon.

I’m not talking about a huge road trip here; I prefer to do those in the fall. But Portland and Seattle are coming to mind. It’s been a couple of years. And my spies tell me it’s still raining in Portland. Yes, that’s a plus…


Link du jour, which might already have been a link du jour, is Nightcharm. It’s sort of a thinking man’s porn site. After all I really DID read “Playboy” for the articles when I was a kid. It’s not as if cared about the pictures…

21 May 1999

My onions have sprouted.

I don’t know whether to be horrified or excited. It seemed to happen overnight. I bought a bag of onions, left them on the counter for a couple of days, and then, this morning, there were these green things shooting out the top. That’s what I get for keeping them out in the fertile ground my kitchen seems to have become.

Can I still use them? Or should I just plant them?

So all kinds of invites have arrived from people to hang out with in Seattle, assuming I can get off my butt and plan a trip there soon. Maybe around the 4th of July would be good: I’ve been informed that it ALWAYS rains then.

About this rain thing: long-timers know that I’m not really happy unless I get a couple of rainy (or at least overcast) days a week. The problem with San Francisco (and most of California) is that it just doesn’t rain AT ALL between roughly April and October. So by mid-May, I already miss it.

Soaking up sunshine is not among my favorite pastimes. Getting a tan? You gotta be kidding. Strangely enough, though, I have always fantasized about owning a convertible. Not just any convertible, but a 1966 Corvair convertible.

Completely unrelated: number one on the pop charts this week in 1966 was “Monday, Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas…

Car Alarms and Such

I laugh when car alarms go off in the middle of the night.

I laugh because the alarm means there’s a good chance that the idiot who owns said car alarm will return to his car and find a broken window, or worse. At this point, he’ll be getting exactly what he deserves.

What the hell are people thinking when they install loud, repeating car alarms? Do they have some fantasy that complete strangers will hear the alarm and immediately run outside and body slam the perpetrator? Here’s a clue: when a car alarm wakes me up at 4AM, the only impulse I have is to go out and finish whatever was started. If the crook broke a side window, I’m tempted to do the rest and demolish the windshield.

Any individual with the paranoia which makes him believe a car alarm does anything but inspire homicidal rage in his neighbors has no business parking his car on the street in an urban area. Period.

That said, I’ll reveal that I actually went out in my neighborhood on a weekend night (again) and had good time (again). Twice in three weeks. Pretty amazing, huh? The crowd at Hole in the Wall was incredibly tolerable. Once again, it seems the tweakers and the slumming yuppies opted for a different scene for the evening.

I’m not about to get my hopes up and believe this is a developing trend, alas. There’s too much potential for disappointment. And too damned many BMWs with car alarms parked in the neighborhood.

Apologies to Eugene for the positive tone of one of the paragraphs here. I hope the others made up for it…

Come Join the People of AARP

I’ve been invited to join the AARP.

This is pretty amazing, considering that (a) the minimum age for membership is 50, and (b) the AARP were early pioneers in the use of invasive, privacy-compromising monster databases, and thus they should realize that I’m not even CLOSE to 50.

I’m torn. Should I lie about my age and send in my eight bucks, so I can get all those fabulous discounts at places like EconoLodge and Denny’s and Wal-Mart? Or should I just hang on to my invitation for fifteen years until I’m really eligible?

In an effort to stave off senility for a few hours, I took a really long walk on Sunday. When I say “long walk”, I mean a five or six mile mega-hike around the city, from China Basin to Chinatown, from the Financial District to Union Square. A couple of realizations in the process:

  • The Financial District is boring just about any day of the week and provides an unpleasant lull to any stroll.
  • A disturbing number of German tourists eat at the Burger King at Powell and Market.
  • An encouraging number of skateboarders still ignore the “no skateboarding” signs along the Embarcadero.
  • It’s damned difficult to find a Coke on certain streets in Chinatown.
  • A mildly sunburned scalp is a very unpleasant thing.

More exciting missives to come, I’m sure…

Yay! Summer!

It’s freezing cold, windy, and foggy. Summer has arrived in San Francisco. I love it.

I can always tell a holiday weekend has arrived. The hits on the web site go way down starting by about 3:00 on Friday afternoon. And by Saturday evening, I’m drowning in spam. It’s a very predictable pattern, repeated over and over throughout the year.

All in all, it’s been a good weekend so far. Had dinner at Tad’s with Dan on Thursday night, followed by a relaxing drive through Bayview/Hunter’s Point (no irony intended). I crammed a lot of work into Friday so I wouldn’t have to think about it on Saturday and Sunday.

After a really fitful sleep of mildly disturbing dreams, I had Saturday morning coffee (OK…I had a Coke) at Brainwash with a gentleman from Todco (a non-profit which builds affordable housng South of Market) and discussed the ramifications of Loftomania.

And then it was off to the Doggie Diner for Sarah’s birthday burger, followed by a trek to The Attic, my favorite junk store in the Sunset. Sarah bought old postcards, and I scored two old San Francisco telephone directories (vintage 1962 and 1978). I can’t quite explain how excited I was to find these, and I really don’t expect anyone else to understand. I’ll expand on it later, but you’re allowed not to care.

Best discovery of the weekend is that Bringdown #5 is now available on a World Wide Web near you.

Feeling suitably bitter, I’m now about to go out in search of some memorable tourist dick to celebrate Memorial Day. Wish me luck…