Birthday Season

Please add three years to the cake above for accuracy. And for those of you who are interested, my semi-public birthday gathering is now officially scheduled.

Seems birthday season is here. Tonight, I celebrated my ex-roomie’s birthday with 11 friends and acquaintances at El Trebol on 24th Street in the Mission. I almost hesitated to mention the name of the place, as it was also a Best of the Bay winner last week. While getting one of these awards last year didn’t ruin Planet SOMA, a restaurant is a far more fragile thing.

Great dinner. Great cake. And I get to go to sleep secure in the knowledge that Dan is (and will always be) eight days older than me.

Things I love this week:

  • Birthday presents from Duncan and Patric (one of them being the White Castle book, so scratch that from the list)
  • WKRP in Cincinatti
  • Bumblebee Tuna for 60 cents a can at Lucky
  • The fog
  • The new living room couch I’ll have this weekend. Finally.

6 August 1999

I guess it’s time to flip my office calendar over to August now. For six days, I’ve been looking at the mini-month in the corner rather than actually standing up and turning the page.

So it seems that, just as the nasty funk of the past month or so is starting to lift (maybe), I’m now coming down with a cold. Fine. I give up. I’m just going to sit in a corner with Irma and pout until the rainy season arrives. The hell with everything.

Don’t worry, though. I’ll still sneak out for Tuesday’s birthday non-event. But right now, all I want to do is go to bed, read my new White Castle book for a while, and then sleep for a very long time.

While I’m asleep, I will not think about the following:

  • My long-term financial, geographic, or mental status.
  • The fact that there will not be one single candidate worth considering in this year’s mayoral election and that we’ll therefore be stuck with Emperor Willie for four more years.
  • The diseased lung I looked at while working on (irony of ironies) an anti-smoking website last night.
  • Sex (or lack thereof).
  • The asshole next door who has this tendency to work on his ugly orange convertible right outside my office window at all hours of the day and night.
  • Ways to keep that miserable orange convertible from ever bothering me again.

Not in on the Joke

Did you ever get the feeling there was some sort of running gag and that YOU were the punchline? I’ve decided that’s how I feel in most social situations, particularly those involving he-faggots.

I know it’s not really true. I realize that most people at the average bar, party, or whatever don’t give a rat’s ass about me one way or the other. But I still feel that everyone’s looking at me or laughing at me or thinking “what a putz”. The feeling’s usally much more prevalent in queer bars, but it can happen anywhere.

Never having really been the sociable sort (despite some valiant charades), I think I’ve never become really comfortable with the idea that any group of people might actually want me to be a part of it. Of course, it all goes back to junior high and self-esteem issues (insert appropriate psychobabble here), but you’d think I might have gotten past it by now.

Of course, there are benefits. When Mr. Right shows up in a bar, I’m usually not surrounded by an impenetrable entourage. I’ve also managed to forge a certain appealing aloofness out of this particular neurosis. Or so I’ve convinced myself…

All the same, though, it might be nice to wander up to a group of acquaintances without feeling I was butting in and being barely tolerated. I also get the same feeling almost any time I have to call someone the phone, oddly enough. It’s a feeling I’ve been having weekly (or more) for almost twenty years now, and I think I’m ready to be rid of it.

9 August 1999

Four or five stories above the crest of Nob Hill. Photo credit Sarah.

My mom has email.

Somehow I knew this day would come, but I’m not sure if I’m ready for it. This must be sort of how it felt for her when I learned to drive. OK, maybe not quite that extreme. Of course, the big and pressing question is how she’ll deal with this site when she lands here. It’s not like I do drugs or deal in kiddie porn or anything, but the self-revelation (and the language) might be a bit much. All in all, though, Mom’s pretty sane. I think she’ll deal.

More about the weekend soon (as Sarah has the first crack at posting certain pictures of certain celebrities), but here are the highlights:

I spent Friday afternoon doing recreational web browsing, which is something I almost never do anymore. In the process, I found current pictures of one of my high school lust victims as well as re-connecting with an old friend from college. I also ran across names of members of my family on someone’s geneaology page. That was a little creepy. And no, I’m not giving you the addresses. So there.

Saturday afternoon brought a Star Trek convention (more about that later) and a strange case of lust, which I’m still at loss to explain so I won’t right now. Thus I ventured out to the neighborhood watering holes Saturday night, which proved as much of a mistake as going out on Saturday night ever is.

Now it’s Sunday. I’m watching something really stupid on the Disney Channel. It’s time for bed. More babbling of substance, along with accompanying pictures, coming soon.

Thoughts on Reaching Age 35


So it seems I’m now 35 years old. It’s supposed to be a very good year for blue-blooded girls of independent means. But I’m still chasing after blue-haired boys of questionable means. That’s OK. I’m comfortable with the fact that Frank Sinatra might not approve of my life.

Thoughts on the day:

  • I can now run for president, which is a nice irony on the 25th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation.
  • I think I’ve jumped into a new Nielsen demographic. I’m now only allowed to watch CBS.
  • I’ve now lived half the life the Bible guarantees. I’m not sure if this is a money-back guarantee. If I live longer than 70 years, do I have to pay more?
  • The only two famous people who share my birthday are Rosanna Arquette (5 years older) and Herbert Hoover (35 years deader). No major truths can be gained from this fact.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing anyone who dares show up tonight. And thanks for all the good wishes, etc.

The Birthday Bash

Interesting idea, huh? I turn 35, have dinner at a classy dive on Powell Street, and invite all comers. It’s the sort of thing which could be either truly creepy or tons of fun. Of course, the fact that it was both self-obsessed and self-indulgent rather goes without saying.

I really didn’t think many people would show up. It was windy and foggy. It was a Tuesday. It was scheduled for a great but little-known restaurant on a block few locals ever visit. But people came! Thirteen to be precise, four of whom I’d never even met before. It was pretty damned cool and not creepy at all.

As I waited out front with Sarah, in an effort to make sure my blood’s nicotine level was in the acceptable range, people showed up one by one, and we all waited patiently in line for din-din, since (of course) there was a long line at Tad’s for the first time in recent memory.

We pretty much gravitated to the exclusive upper room, where one feels much more intimately connected to the red velvet wallpaper, as most of the downstairs tables were taken. It’s just different upstairs: no naked cherub light fixtures nor serving line noise. It’s also hotter than hell.

Sarah and Brad were there, as were Grant, Barry, and Trixie. Mark and Eugene and David, Spike and Becky and Jamie (who managed to find her way here even without email) all joined in the carnivorous delight. Tim dropped in to say hello. And at the and of the table sat the keeper of my favorite website, who I dared not photograph.

The grand total: four domain names, ten boys, three girls, three Okies, two reformed Southern Californians, five reformed Southerners (depending on how you count), four reformed Midwesterners (depending on how you count), and lots of random chick peas on the vinyl tablecloth.

And I got presents. I wasn’t supposed to get presents. I’m not complaining. Not when I have Count Chocula handed to me with a bow on it. Nor will I complain about festive and colorful iced tea glasses with cool fruit ice cube thingies (which probably have a better name) nor even the Elmo alarm clock which now wakes me with teh theme from Sesame Street. Nope…no complaints at all…

After dinner, the remaining eleven of us made the leisurely stroll down Geary to David’s Deli for dessert. The hostess (no doubt sensing what was afoot) emptied the Celebrity Room of old people before seating us there. Everyone sang to me and requested a speech. Everyone soon realized that I’m much better with a keyboard than a mouth.

I drank coffee. David’s is one of the few places I do this, mainly beacuse when you order coffee here, they don’t ask “what kind?”. This choice of caffeine at 10PM would later haunt me.

After desert, five brave souls remained for the walk to Hole in the Wall at Eighth and Folsom, where I was kept out way past my bedtime. This would explain why it took me two days to post these pictures.

All I can say is thanks. It was great. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. People talked and mingled and everything, more so it seemed than even at most “traditional” parties. And not a single business card was exchanged.

There will be a repeat performance. The Tonga Room comes to mind. It should at least be photogenic…

13 August 1999

Different day, different David…

So the site needed a little sex appeal and my ugly mug wasn’t providing it. Therefore I’ve decided to feature a different David on the front page for a day or so. I think he’s an improvement. Besides, he took a good number of my birthday pictures Tuesday night, so I felt I owed him.

The big question today is whether to leave town for the weekend or use my freebie pass and check out Feast on Friday night. I need to get out of town in a major way. But it might also be nice to see if there’s any hope left for San Francisco’s sex clubs in the current homogenized era.

Speaking of homogenized, does anyone else find those new Gap ads (with the vacant-eyed youngsters mumbling the lyrics to “Dress You Up” by Madonna) to be one of the creepiest things you’ve seen on TV lately? What exactly did they put in the Kool-Aid at that shoot?

Is it the same stuff they sell in all those juice bars on Castro Street?

Road Trip Lite

I sort of left town. I just didn’t spend the night anyplace. So I still haven’t slept anyplace other than San Francisco since January. That’s absolutely terrifying. Next weekend for sure. Fresno calls…

As for this weekend, I pretended I wasn’t in San Francisco by lurking in the Outer Mission on Friday afternoon. I took a lot of pictures. I had lunch at the Chick-N-Coop Hoffbrau, which is a story in itself, soon to be told. And then I explored Pacifica some more. I keep thinking that there’s some excting part of Pacifica I haven’t yet discovered, and I keep being disappointed.

Today, I made one of my “huge circle” day trips, from San Francisco to Tracy to Stockton and Lodi to Sacramento and home again by way of Fairfield. This was mostly a thrift-shopping and picture-taking excursion than anything else. Final score: one very ugly shirt, two commemorative plates (Oklahoma City and Nebraska), and four very turquoise dishes. All for under ten bucks.

The best part, of course, was dinner at the Chick-Fil-A in Fairfield.

Other memorable moments:

  • The old guy in the Cadillac in Tracy who opened his door to reveal he was listening to ZZ Top at the loudest possible volume.
  • The new road in Sacramento which connects Arden Way and Garden Highway. In a brilliant move, it’s been named “Arden Garden”.
  • That hot dog from the AM-PM in Galt. I’ll be remembering it for days…

I may expand this day trip later, but right now I’m going to bed. I may drag my ass out early and do another one tomorrow…

Happy Birthday, Dad

Happy Birthday, Dad…

No, he probably won’t see it, since my Mom is still learning the ins and outs of accessing the web. But I thought it was a pretty cool “concept shot”. I have one of my Mom too. She’s standing under a sign which reads “motherhood”. A maternity store, I think. Shortly after we took these last January, mall security told us we had to stop taking pictures. We were so ashamed. Really…

My Dad’s birthday: another family event expedited by Federal Express. When my parents send me presents, they use regular mail. They plan ahead.

Things I love this week:

  • Fresca
  • Rosemary’s Baby
  • Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, which are even better after two days in the refrigerator.
  • Joe Orton

Quake and Quiver

This was just plain creepy. At about 6:00, I walked up to the corner store to get a pack of cigarettes. The owner was watching the news about the earthquake in Turkey. We commented on how awful it was, and as I walked out, I just happened to utter the following words:

“We’re gonna have another one here before you know it.”

About ten seconds later, we did. The owner ran out of the store to tell me. It was a small one. I didn’t even feel it. But things were shaking and quivering inside the store. As I walked home, I noticed some neighbors talking about it on the sidewalk. I turned on the news. Channel 4 was already into its predicatble hype mode.

I predicted an earthquake with precision accuracy. And I didn’t even know I was doing it at the time. Much better than last time.

Things I love today:

  • Safeway Select Grapefruit Soda
  • The Safeway at 7th Avenue and Cabrillo
  • The fact that, after tonight, I will finally have every episode of “The Streets of San Francisco” on tape, including the one filmed near the aforementioned Safeway.

Things which suck more than usual today (which means they suck a whole lot):

  • Microsoft
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Microsoft Active-X


“What’s Planet SOMA?”

“Some website. S’posed to be good for ya. Wanna try it?”

“I’m not gonna try it. YOU try it.”

“I’m not gonna try it. Hey, let’s get Pigdog!”

“He won’t read it. He hates everything”

Narf, narf, narf…

“He likes it! Hey, Pigdog…”

I’m off to Fresno for the weekend now. There may be side trips to exotic locales like Clovis and Los Baños and Modesto. There will most assuredly be thrift stores and diners and cheap motels. I have not yet decided whether to add drama to the lives of another couple, but if history is any sort of predictor…

See you tomorrow.

To Fresno


Aside from an overnight stop with Erik on the way back from Las Vegas in 1998, it had been more than two years since I had a Fresno experience. Heck, it had been eight months since I’d even spent a night outside San Francisco. It was time.

I got out of town early on Saturday morning, assuming I’d have lunch in Merced and make it to Fresno before the thrift stores closed. By the time I crossed Altamont Pass, I already had the air conditioner on. I feared the heat of the Central Valley. I was right to fear it.

After finding a great bluegrass station just out of Stockton, I was speeding down Highway 99 and all excited about visiting my favorite escape. After eating lunch and driving around downtown Merced (and finding a great book my ex-roomie needed to own) I made way to Fresno.

The thrift stores proved antclimactic, and I left with one pair of 97¢ pants. Particularly disturbing was the Christian heavy metal station playing in one of the stores. I was sweating, dehydrated, and tired as the temperature had already hit 98. It was time for an air-conditioned motel. I checked in, took a crap, fixed the non-functioning TV and set the thermostat on “sub-arctic”.

Then I explored Fresno. I hit the Tower District and one of my favorite used bookstores. I drove the length of the North Blackstone strip. I visited a Von’s and an Albertson’s on my continuing quest for Count Chocula. I was unsuccessful. I was also a little pissed to see how much cheaper things are at Von’s than Safeway, despite their common ownership.

I checked out a few more used bookstores, both of which seemed to have this creepy Christian aspect to them (but no Christian heavy metal on the radio at least). One of them even had a Christian massage center in the backroom. Strange chants permeated the whole store.

About this time, I decided that hearing Lenny Kravitz sing “American Woman” one more time might drive me over the edge, so I switched to a Tejano station. I continued into a strip mall on Gettysburg Avenue, desperate to read the sign, which said exactly what I thought it said:

How can you not love a city with a strip mall named “The Gettysburg Address”?


Back at the motel (which now had the beginnings of icicles forming on the curtain rod), I contemplated going out. I really wanted to pick up another couple, as is my habit in Fresno. But I was also worn out from the heat and fearful of drinking and driving.

My gonads won. I hit the Red Lantern first, and was surprised that this empty, seedy little bar was now holding “salsa night” on Saturdays. There was an actual crowd. It was a fun crowd, but really cliquish and not at all cruisy. I was happy to see that the Red Lantern was quite gleefully ignoring California’s ban on smoking in bars. I picked up the fag rag and saw that tonight was “hardcore and alternative night” at the Cave, two blocks west.

This bar has a strange definition of “hardcore and alternative”, which includes Bon Jovi, Alanis Morrissette and a really bad disco version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. I exited to the patio, which is also a backroom area, I’m told. All I saw were several bears talking about AOL buddy lists and chat rooms.

Conversation snippet: “I wish there was some action happening. Everyone knows about this place, but no one wants to break the ice.” An ice breaker from way back, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the problem was the lack of any interesting ice to break. I was home by 12:30, comfortably breaking up my own personal set of ice crystals which were now forming on every surface in the room.

Biggest nightlife revelation of the evening: the new freeway by Belmont Avenue makes bar-hopping much more convenient. And no, I didn’t drive drunk, thank you.

On Highway 99


Sunday morning brought breakfast at McDonald’s, since the Chicken Pie Shop was closed and everyplace else had long lines full of small children. I toured more of the city, taking this year’s series of pictures along Motel Drive, including a few shots of a motel which had burned a day or two before.

Along the way, I stopped in at an old dowdy Save-Mart supermarket (a Fresno chain) to buy a disposable camera. Just to be safe, I made a Count Chocula scan. They had it. I shrieked. Fresno housewives looked at me funny. I didn’t care.

I definitely took the long way home to San Francisco:


Madera is asmall agricultural town just north of Fresno, which looks alternately prosperous and depressed. Nice homes and tree-lined streets are found west of Highway 99, while the east side contains a seedy downtown and people living in old motels.


Merced has an interesting downtown with at least one passable used bookstore. There are some great buildings, a great old hotel, and an unbelievable number of houses…miles of them. Where do these people work? I haven’t figured it out yet.

I also stopped in Los Banos, Morgan Hill, and San Jose on the way back. I was hot and tired and getting a case of the sniffles and a sore throat. But something told me to take the old route through San Jose and santa Clara. And, lo and behold, what should I notice on El Camino but a Save-Mart, possibley the only one existing outside Fresno.

I hit the brakes, to the annoyance of at least seven yuppies. I almosy jumped the median. I walked into the Save-Mart. There was Count Chocula. I shrieked again. Since this was Silicon Valley, there were no housewives to give me funny looks. I hit the checkout and wondered at the fact that I’d driven to a town almost 200 miles away to learn, after seven years in San Francisco, that the chocolate marshmallow treat was available only forty miles from home.

Great things always happen to me when I visit Fresno.

Home from Fresno

Home. Sweating. Nose stopped up from spending 36 straight hours in air conditioning. Remind me once again that my delicate constitution suffers in the 100-degree weather of Fresno in August.

Despite the miserable weather (hot and sunny), it was a good trip. Look for details and pictures soon.

Rhetorical and other questions du jour:

  • Why does the same box of store brand cereal (in the same store) sell for $1.99 in Fresno and $3.19 in the Bay Area?
  • Who is responsible for that annoying new cover version of “American Woman”?
  • Where is my damned fog?

30 August 1999

No. I don’t, actually…

But I do confess that I have now tried canned collards and much to my surprise found them to be passably good. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this.

I’m even more embarrassed to admit that this is the most exciting thing I could write about, despite a five day absence from my little blue, yellow, and white corner of the world. Let’s just say it’s been a low-key week.

I actually got a lot done. On Thursday, I helped give birth to a brand new bouncing baby website. That’s always fun, especially when they bring beer.

I’ve also been working on a little project of my own, which is nowhere near completion, but you can give it a sneak peek if you like. Be forewarned that it’s in progress and may not work too well. If you check it out and have anything to contribute, please give me a yell.

Other than that, I’ve been doing absolutely nothing of much interest and finding it pretty damned pleasant, thank you. I promise to be more interesting soon, and (once again) to try and catch up on the email this week.


Photo courtesy Sarah

Someone I know in North Carolina was murdered recently. It’s a little disturbing to me for two reasons. The first stems from the fact that the victim was, frankly, not someone that I particularly liked. Thus, I’m not sure exactly which emotion is required at this point. The other is that this is the second time in as many years that a violent death has hit my circle of friends in Greensboro.

The newspapers aren’t mentioning it (yet) but it’s pretty apparent that either sex, drugs, or both were major factors. Sex and drugs go hand in hand for lots of my fellow sodomites in the south (and everywhere else). The “restless rednecks” stereotype is more apt than many would care to admit.

I worry about a lot of my friends back home, for whom obliterating reality seems to have become the only way of coping with life. The image becomes even sharper as most of the new friends I make have (like me) abandoned the whole recreational drug scene years ago, looking on it as a pastime more suited to high school and college than to everyday adult life.

It disturbs me when I go home and see friends for whom nothing ever really changes, except the current venue for partying or the currently fashionable party favors.

Granted, I don’t even smoke pot, I rarely drink more than a beer or two anymore, and sex has become (at best) a peripheral interest for me lately. I don’t think this makes me a superior human being. I’m not interested in being a crusader. I realize that I haven’t made such a tremendous success of my life either.

But I do worry. Especially when people start getting brutally murdered for no apparent reason other than for bringing home the wrong boy…