Searches and Labor Day

OK, extra special quality points to whoever sent me a detailed message sometime this month by entering it as queries on the search page. It came out a litte disjointed and out of order, but that added to the appeal. If you change your mind and try to find your Inner Boyfriend, please let me know…

And to anyone else who has the same idea now that I’ve mentioned it: it’s been done already…

I think this month’s best search would have to be a tossup between “big chokechain mambo pussies” (probably a joke) and “homosexual black metal ring” (probably not, alas). Also, my undying affection goes out to the hungry soul who searched for “pot roast”.

Lots of work for me this Labor Day weekend. Sites to be designed, sites to be redesigned, and more, all in a valiant attempt to maintain my upscale lifestyle in America’s most overpriced urban region. In other words, I’ve got Rice-a-Roni bills to pay.

And I’ve got to get ready for my annual “ridiculously long but that’s the way I like it” road trip, which will now have North Carolina as its midpoint, as I’ve decided to surprise my Mom and Dad on their 50th anniversary. Itinerary coming soon.

Planet Cincy?

I have seen the future and the future could very well be Cincinnati. Planet Cincy. Whaddaya think?

Upon looking at a map tonight while planning this year’s road trip from hell, I suddenly realized that this Ohio city might be the perfect place to relocate. It’s not a really objectionable sort of place. I imagine it’s pretty cheap. It’s appealing on many levels just because it’s the sort of place most people prefer to move away from rather than move to. Cincinatti was once the largest city in the midwest, and it’s been losing population steadily since 1950. I like that trend.

And best of all, it’s about a one day drive from alsmost everyplace I’d ever want to go, including Greensboro. I could visit Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Washington, New York, Atlanta, Saint Louis, and Kansas City on a regular basis. I could be home with Mom and Dad within nine hours.

And I could listen to Doctor Johnny Fever every morning on WKRP, right?

That said, this year’s road trip extravaganza is set to include New Orleans, someplace in the greater Cincinnati-Indianapolis area, and most definitely the Piggly Wiggly Museum in Memphis. Other suggestions will be accepted, but I’m not planning to do too many detours off the I-80 and I-10 paths. I’m also allowing a maximum of three weeks.

Off to the kitchen for leftovers now…

10 September 1999


So I was walking down Harrison Street Wednesday night. This yuppie wannabe drove up next to me and asked me where TGI Fridays was. I responded “I’m not sure. Sacramento? Maybe Walnut Creek?” He didn’t get it. I chuckled the rest of the way home, wishing I’d told him it was in an alley near the corner of 6th and Mission.

Yes, I’ve been working a lot this week, with things happening on just about all of my freelance sites at the same time (of course). And I’ll let you in on a little secret: I have an interview for an actual full-time job next week. No, I’m not saying where, but I will confess that San Francisco is the location. Details as they occur. I still haven’t decided for sure if I want a full-time job or if I want it to be here in San Francisco.

For now, I’m still planning the November road trip, and I now have invitations to Memphis, Mobile, New Orleans, Nashville, Washington, and Indianapolis. Color me grateful and excited. Anybody got a good idea for a 50th anniversary gift for Mom and Dad now?

I’m planning to give the site a little attention as soon as the crunch winds down. Bear with me. And send me all your stories and pictures for next month’s “official” premiere of Did You Bring Bottles.

I’m going to dinner now…

That Sex Site

Y’know, I think that maybe fifteen per cent of this site could be considered to be even vaguely sexuality-related. Yet in some circles Planet SOMA has the reputation of being this naughty site about nothing but sex clubs and backrooms and (non-existent) dirty pictures. I’m always listed with the “gay culture” sites, the “sexuality” sites or (inexplicably) the “leather/fetish” sites. I imagine many of the poor souls who stumble in here are quite disappointed to find it’s pretty damned tame around these parts lately.

For the record:

  • I don’t go to sex clubs and I haven’t in years. They’re listed here for informational purposes only. I rarely even go out to bars anymore, mainly because I’m sick of them.
  • There has been no street cruising scene South of Market in several years, thanks in large part to our new upscale residential population.
  • Yer humble host is teetering precariously on the brink of celibacy, due mostly to a general laziness and lack of interest. Yer humble host is quite comfortable with this situation, thanks.
  • Planet SOMA is now more about journals, road trips and miscellaneous urban culture than anything else. There may even be the occasional trip to the supermarket.
  • Planet SOMA is not now, nor was it ever, a leather site, a kiddie porn site, a site about dance clubs or the Castro, nor a site about the joys of gay culture.
  • If someone offered me the right job in the right place, I’d leave San Francisco as fast as you can say “Mocha Frappucino Latte”.

I hope I haven’t disappointed anyone, although I’m pretty sure that I have…

Drive Me Crazy

Why has everyone in San Francisco suddenly forgotten how to drive?

When I first moved here, I was amazed at how smoothly traffic flowed in San Francisco. Sure, it was congested and there was too much of it even then, btu people coped with it well. Dan and I used to discuss it regularly. It was as if everyone had agreed to make the best of an impossible situation and made a conscious decision to behave in a civilized manner.

Seems they’ve given up on these lofty goals. It’s as if the booming economy, high rents, and corporate phallic symbols downtown have finally given drivers that New York state of mind. Here in the capitol of mellow touchy-feeliness, driving has become the only acceptable outlet for expressing one’s inner asshole.

And boy are there some expressive individuals out there! There is a special place in hell reserved for those of you who do the following:

  • Pull out in front of me while babbling in a cell phone and them get pissed off (or laugh) when I hit the horn.
  • Cut in front of me and then come to a dead stop.
  • Ride my ass at any time, but especially when I’m already going five miles above the speed limit.
  • Slam on your breaks mid-block in order to make a left turn from the right lane. Keep in mind that you’re only a block away from someplace to turn around, asshole.
  • Pass on the right while driving down the 280 even when (a) I’m doing 80 and (b) there’s plenty of space to pass on the left, where you’re SUPPOSED to do it.
  • Park your 20-foot tall urban assault vehicle right at a corner obstructing all views of oncoming traffic.
  • Blow your horn while in gridlocked traffic. Just who the fuck do you think you are? Moses parting the Red Sea? What effect do you think you’re having? Were you born an idiot?
  • Assume that left turns on red must be illegal here simply because they have no one-way streets back in Armpit, Iowa or wherever the hell you moved here from.
  • Try to find your way back to the freeway to Walnut Creek after having two beers too many at Julie’s or your favorite fratboy bar the Marina (or the Castro).
  • Think that being able to afford that BMW (or Lexus or Mercedes) makes up for your lack of driving skills.

A few warning signs pointing to the potential of bad drivers ahead:

  • Folsom Street on Saturday night. I don’t know where these idiots come from (I’m guessing Contra Costa and Marin) but I wish they’d go back.
  • Cabs. They will invariably drive both aggressively and badly. Given a similar job, I might behave the same way.
  • Limos. Sort of like cabs, but they’re bigger and more likely to get in the way. They’re also usually full of drunk idiots making repeated stupid requests of the driver.
  • Volvos. Another given. Almost without fail, Volvo drivers are indecisive and prone to occasional bouts of complete idiocy.
  • Bumper stickers. The more “statements”, the worse the driver. One exception, oddly enough, seems to be stickers promoting bands.
  • Any car costing more than about $50,000. Anyone self-obsessed enough to spend this much on a car is unlikely to be particularly civic-minded behind the wheel. Call this a generalization. I don’t care.
  • Teenage males. Without question, the worst drivers on the road, especially those 30-year-old teenagers in overpriced cars.

Glad to get that off my chest. I’ll wait until next week before taking on car alarms again…


Call me sick, but some part of me really wants to be on the east coast with Hurricane Floyd tonight. Maybe not right at the beach, but at least close enough to feel some actual storm action.

California wouldn’t know a storm if one came up and bit all 40 million of us on the ass simultaneously. I heard thunder and saw lightning last week for only the second time in seven years here. And even then there was no rain to speak of. Even El Niño was a disappointment. The weather is so wimpy here. Of course, that’s a good thing on those days when it’s 95 everywhere else in the country but only 66 here, I guess.

Things I love this week:

  • Today’s constant cool, gray fog.
  • Midnight Cowboy.
  • Roseanne (the sit-com, not the talk show).

Things I hate this week:

  • My part-time job.
  • My part-time job.
  • My part-time job.

Gay Gay Gay Gay Gay

I’ll start by saying that I’ve grown to hate the word “gay”. I really don’t want to get into the semantics issue of “gay” vs. “queer” (or “invert” or “homphile” or whatever). My problem with “gay” is that it suggests an identity rather than a sexual orientation, and I ain’t buying into it.

I sleep with other men. I eat cereal. I drive a Toyota. I watch “The Simpsons”. I go to the grocery store. Big deal. These are things that I do. Taken together, they may speak volumes about my identity. Individually, however, they mean nothing much at all. I have nothing more (or less) in common with other men who sleep with men than I do with other men who drive Toyotas.

This is not to say that I have nothing at all in common with any of my fellow fudgepackers, or that I’m somehow “different” or “more unique” or “more developed”. It just means that my search for “community” is based more on shared interests than on shared sexual orientation. In other words, I’d rather spend an evening talking to someone who shares my love for urban theory and history or Krispy Kreme Doughnuts or roadside motels from the 1950s than with someone whose only common interest is a shared passion for sucking dick.

If someone I meet whose interests match mine happens to be straight or even (gasp) a woman, that’s just fine. If, on the other hand, he happens to be a man who likes to screw men, then we have one more thing in common. Cool, huh?

I guess what I mean is that some vague notion of “gay community” is not number one on my list of priorities in a place to visit or to live. Similarly, sexual orientation is not one of the top aspects in my choice of friends. Years ago, these things used to be very important to me, which is part of why I moved to San Francisco. I can sort of understand why they still might be important to some other people. But the older I get, the less I view the world in terms of sexuality.

I’m not talking about faux masculinity, nor am I saying that people shouldn’t “flaunt their sexuality”. I have no patience with closet cases nor with tight-assed macho men (whether they like men or women). I’m in favor of “flaunting”. I’m just not in favor of the notion that sexual orientation makes for any more of a “community” than does an aversion to pickles on hamburgers.

I’m not going to sit through a crappy movie rather than a good one just because the crappy movie happens to have a “positively portrayed gay character”. I’m not going to buy a CD by a band which sucks just because dicks are one of the things they suck. And I’m most assuredly not going to live in a pastel-colored neighborhood of overpriced boutiques and juice bars simply because it’s a “gay mecca”.

Nor, on the other hand, am I going to assume something is bad just because a fellow Sodomite was involved somehow. I don’t hate “gay people”. I do hate people who think being “gay” is the most important single aspect of their identity, because they become one-dimensional and boring.

Ultimately, though, if I had to choose between living in a town with 20 great gay bars and a huge gay ghetto or one with 20 great used bookstores and a few huge run-down neighborhoods, I’d choose the latter without blinking an eye.


I’ve been accused of prejudice against people who make more money than I do. Nothing could be father from the truth. Some of my best friends make more money than I do. Come to think of it, I even used to make more money than I do.

This accustation hurts me. Deeply. I’ve been crying for more than an hour. How could someone question my support for the affluent, possibly one of the most tortured and exploited minorities in America? I’ve long been a vocal supporter of Willie Brown’s program of affirmative action for San Francisco’s underprivileged rich people.

Indeed, I think San Francisco would be a much better place if we threw out all those marginal types and turned the city into wall-to-wall live-work lofts, Starbucks, and banks. Imagine how the quality of life would improve! No more noisy nightclubs South of Market or unattractive bargain bazaars on Mission Street. We’d finally be rid of those pesky artists and musicians.

Poor people are so unappealing. They’re somehow un-American, with all this talk of respecting their neighborhoods and preserving diversity. If all those unsavory characters in the Mission or the Tenderloin would just create more Internet start-ups, them they’d deserve to stay in their neighborhoods. If those damned artists would start generating capital, they’d no doubt be far superior human beings.

Frankly, individuality and creativity are over-rated, nor all that profitable. They should therefore be abolished, or banished to far-flung suburbs. So should working class families and anyone else who can’t make the cut. Nothing is quite so important as making sure that distressed and oppressed wealthy people have fashionable places to live and shop.

Above all, we must remember that the pursuit of large sums of money supercedes such trivial matters as treating existing residents and communities with respect. Who says that people who spend years living in (and contributing to) a community have more rights than someone with half a million to spend on a studio apartment?

After all, money is the most important thing in the world, right?


OK. Anyone who really believes I cried for an hour last night over those accuations of anti-rich prejudice must really be lacking in the irony detection department. A lot of things will make me cry. Critical email is not one of them.

I’ll state this for the record and for the irony-impaired: I do not hate rich people. What I hate (and I feely admit this) is the tendency of some affluent individuals to believe their financial success gives them license to behave like assholes. If I’m prejudiced, however, it’s against assholes. Not against wealthy people. Assholes come in all shapes, sizes, and incomes. The problem is that assholes with money can do more damage and thus are far more visible targets.

And franky, I do get more pissed off when an asshole in a new BMW pulls out in front of me than I am when an asshole in a 1988 Geo Metro does the same thing. If the asshole can afford a BMW, he can also damn well afford driving lessons. This may be prejudice. Too bad. I don’t care.

I will close by saying that San Franciscans now have my conditional permission to be well-off financially and to drive whatver car they so choose. But they’d damned well better behave themselves, beacuse I sure can write some hateful email.

All other prohibitions against gentrification, Disneyfication, and the re-election of Willie Brown still apply…

18 September 1999

Recycled photo and semi-orgasmic smile from June…

Enough of this class warfare stuff from the past few days. It’s time to get back to the meat of what Planet SOMA is all about. To be more specific, I scored three boxes of Count Chocula yesterday at Target, thanks to an email tip. Seems they’ve receieved their Halloween shipment, complete with Scooby Doo marshmallows. Halloween appears to be the only time of year they allow the stuff past the agricultural inspection station on I-80 and into Nothern California.

Thanks to ever-vigilant readers of Planet SOMA, I’ve had a very good Count Chocula year. This more than makes up for the fact that I’ve been broke all year and that I seem to have given up sex entirely.

Time for a few updates:


This sucks.

It’s 5:00 in the morning. I haven’t slept yet, even though I went to bed at 11:30. I have to be at work at 9:00. Calling in sick is not an option today.

Unlike some past sleepless nights, there were no particularly disturbing thoughts keeping me awake this time. I just couldn’t get to sleep. I was awake at 2:00. I was awake at 4:00. And now I’m just waiting for a little more daylight so I can go into work early, finish up early, and maybe come home and grab a nap.

Which, of course, will throw me off schedule when I try to go to sleep tomorrow night. Or is it tonight? I’m not realy sure anymore.

Dammit, even on my worst and most angst-filled nights, I usually go to sleep eventually. This sucks. But I already said that. I guess I’ll switch from Citra (so I can go to sleep) to Coke (so I can stay awake) now…

On a completely unrelated note, for those of you who are keeping score, it was a year ago today that I revamped the site adding these journal entries to the front page. Apologies for a less than stellar anniversary piece.

Thunder and Lightning

Thunder and lightning for the second time in two weeks. Imagine my surprise. That’s more than we’ve had in the past seven years here.

Of course, I was able to experience it first hand at 3AM, as I was enjoying yet another insomniac moment at the time. But today, I was able to stay home and “enjoy” feeling like crap, although it was a little hard to sleep through the construction noise and the earthquake.

Yes, another little baby earthquake. I almost didn’t notice it. Frankly, the quake didn’t shake the house nearly as much as the pile drivers have been doing for weeeks. However, since there was no pounding noise accompanying this particular quiver, I realized it must be a natural phenomenon.

The earthquake only lasted a couple of seconds. I get to listen to the pile drivers for two years, while the freeway nextdoor is repaired, a mere ten years after it was damaged by a real earthquake.

But I’m babbling. Back to bed now. More about job interviews, road trips, and why my neighborhood is going straight to hell coming soon…

Here’s the Story

Damn, do I feel old…

It was thirty years ago this week that the Brady Bunch made its primetime debut on ABC. And I remember watching it that first year. I almost never missed it. The few times I did usually involved a trip to the brand new mall in Burlington. I was usually grumpy the whole time.

The number one song in America on this important date in American history was “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies. It was a bubblegum universe, to be sure. No Vietnam, civil rights issues, or junkies in sight.

At one point, by the time I was 11 or 12 (a year or two after the Bradys had moved into syndication heaven), I remember catching upto four episodes a day. Must have been a special slice of heaven for my mom and dad.


  • I had a job interview last week. Imagine my delight at not being asked one single question which started with something like “you are trapped on a desert island with two rubber bands and a piece of gum…”
  • Why did I pick the hottest day in two months to hover over the stove making gumbo?
  • Am I some sort of freak? My voice never cracked when it was changing.
  • Yes, that last rhetorical question was inspired by the Brady Bunch marathon I’m watching.

Happy Monday.


I asked my vegan friend today if there was an approved way to kill mosquitoes. I knew this was, at best, a rhetorical question. Firstly, and most obviously, vegans don’t approve of killing anything. Secondly, it’s damned near impossible to kill the little bastards without living under a perpetual toxic cloud anyway.

So Shawn told me there’s some smell which mosquitoes really hate, but he couldn’t remember what it was. Do you? And do you know if it comes in a roll-on?

I don’t really understand what’s up with all these bugs lately. They seem to have appeared last summer as a reaction to El Niño. Apparently they liked it here. I’m not amused. If I wanted mosquitoes, I’d still live in North Carolina.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m sleeping with the windows open thanks to the miserable weather we’ve been having lately. Of course I don’t have screens. Until last summer, I didn’t have bugs.

It was 92°F (33°C) today, the hottest it’s been here in two years. I hate it. But the fog’s coming back in tonight. There is hope.

Things I love today:

  • Bay TV.
  • The ceiling fan in my living room.
  • Maude and All in the Family from 11-12.

Things I hate today:

  • The weather.
  • The bugs.
  • The weather.