So Dan, Jamie, and I went on our usual Friday night dinner thing, this time to a barbecue joint in Oakland. Afterwards, we decided to take a drive up into the hills before grabbing some dessert.

After twisting through Glenview and Montclair, we ended up on Snake Road, which is very aptly named, as it twists and turns up and down hills with no lights, few guardrails and (mercifully) little traffic. Apparently, it’s the place of choice for partying East Bay teenagers.

Jamie started remembering ghost stories from her childhood about strange sightings on this road (which sounded remarkably similar to the ones I grew up hearing about Old High Point Road in Greensboro). This is one creepy, deserted stretch of road, so imagine how startled we were to nearly run down a hitchhiker at 10:00 at night.

It was probably stupid to pick him up, but we felt sorry for him (and he was quite adorably scruffy). Anyway, we figured we outnumbered him no matter what happened. His name was Seth and he looked even better close up. He said his car had broken down. There was something strange about him. I figured he was stoned.

I think Jamie was craving him, but I could tell he liked boys when he kept brushing his hand against my leg in the back seat. He said he was headed to a party in Lafayette (almost a contradiction in terms, I thought) so Dan agreed to drive him there. I was glad, because his absent-minded hand motions were getting a little more aggressive and pointed.

By the time we got to Lafayette, I think we’d pretty much arrived at the official point of “petting”. I advised him that he needed to come back to San Francisco with me. He agreed, but said he had to go into the party for a minute to let his friends know.

Dan, Jamie, and I waited more patiently than you might have expected from any of us. I think they were being nice because of our Krispy Kreme fiasco last week. But finally, I went up to the house to get him (if just to tell him to “fuck off” for making us wait so long.

A guy about my age answered the door and I asked if Seth was there. His face lost most of its color and he asked “Seth who?”. I described him and his face lost the rest of its color.

“That’s Seth Turner you’re describing.”

“Great. Is he here?”

“No. He died. Ten years ago tonight, as matter of fact. He was killed in a car wreck on Snake Road on his way to a party here. It was just after midnight on April Fool’s Day 1990.”

Sites, Email, Etc.

Yes, the banner is back. And yes, it’ll stay there until every one of you has visited my creation, dammit…

It was a fun little April Fool’s gag yesterday, I thought. A little more subtle than last year’s rainbow-encrusted Planet SOMA Circuit Party, at least. Thanks to Jamie for actually planting the idea in my head as we really WERE driving on Snake Road and talking about ghost stories.

It’s hot as hell in San Francisco and I don’t deal with that well. It hit 82 yesterday, which is hotter than it usually gets her in the summer, gosh dern it. Damned inland winds; this hot air should stay in Fresno where they seem to appreciate it.

Did the quarterly purge of my email inbox a couple of days back; it’s now been pruned to a quite manageable 31 pending messages, many of which I intend to answer tonight. I always feel a little guilty when I do these purges, because it reminds me of how many people I haven’t answered over the past few months and of how they’ll probably never get answers now that they’ve been moved into email purgatory.

So, once again, I’ll ask anyone who didn’t get a response to forgive me. It’s not that I don’t like you. As a matter of fact, if you said something that pissed me off, you probably would have gotten a really fast response (although you might not have particularly liked it). I feel guilty about that, too, because it means that I’ve often given a higher priority to anonymous assholes than to generally nice people.

All in all, though, my email is overwhelmingly positive, which is pretty amazing given that my site is pretty visisble and that I am very opinionated. So to the nice people (and to all my former friends who were current friends until I got so bad about answering email), I once again say thanks and I’ll try to get better.

Maybe. Right now I’m going to point the fan directly at my bed and try to go to sleep…

4 April 2000

Yes, the damned banner is animated now. Yes, I was bored.

Speaking of bored (or boring), VH-1 seems to be hitting bottom in its effort to become the full-time Behind the Music Channel. No Doubt. Now really, just who the hell cares about the inside story of No Doubt ? They had one really annoying hit and then pretty much faded, much to the relief of yer humble host.

Of course, someone will disagree. Obviously. Someone at VH-1 already did.

Moving on to more important matters, I now have Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. After two unsuccessful runs, the attempt with Sarah Sunday afternoon (following High Fidelity) finally produced the goods. I am happy. I am full. I may even be a little sick. But damn, they was good.

Things I really, really hate today:

  • AT&T Cable (or more specifically, this afternoon’s lack thereof).
  • The latest round of Gap commercials which rip off West Side Story.
  • Gap commercials in general.
  • Drunk idiots who mumble and then reach out and grab you in bars.

Things I more or less like today:

  • MISCMedia
  • San Francisco pedestrians who fight back when some idiot almost runs them down in a crosswalk.
  • Having enough clean underwear to avoid the laundromat for at least two more days.

Keep your ears (and calendars) open for an exciting announcement about Saturday night, the 22nd of April…

Taxes and Movies

Maybe there is a god. I just figured my taxes and realized I owe less than half what I expected. This, it goes without saying, is a very good thing, since I had precious little idea how I was going to pay the tax man this year. Of course, this is more a testament to how little money I made last year than to anything else, but I’m OK with it as long as I can eat for the rest of the month…

On an unrelated note, it’s very disorienting to watch Jessica Fletcher cavorting with Victor Mature. That’s what I get for watching Samson and Delilah on AMC while I do my taxes. It’s even worse than watching Lily Munster nudge up against Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments.

I’ll bet Lily Munster never owned a gun in her life (or lives).

Things I hate today:

  • Form 1040, Schedule C, Schedule SE, Form 1099.
  • Mrs. Paul’s Stuffed Shrimp
  • Diet Coke (I tried, I really tried…)

Things I love today:

San Francisco news personality with whom I think I’d most hate being stranded on a desert island:

That is all…

Millenium March

Just like Keith at crusingforsex.com and miscellaneous San Franciscans, I’m not going to the Millennium March either. Didn’t even occur to me to go. To be honest, I really wasn’t even all that aware of its details before reading these articles by other people who weren’t going either.

Why not? Hmmm. Glad you asked.

First, of course, would be the fact that I don’t see a tremendous lot of point to it. The point of such marches is to increase visibility by stating rather smugly that “there are 300,000 of us here so you’d better notice us, dammit.” But visibility is not the problem; most Americans are quite aware than queers exist in significant numbers. Most of them don’t really give a damn, and another march isn’t going to do a single thing to change this fact.

Attitudes are changed by one-on-one interaction, and legal status is changed by legislation or litigation. About the only thing that marches (and parades, etc.) do is annoy the people who can’t get across town because of them.

Then, of course, there’s the mixed agenda. To heterosexuals, it’s “we’re just like you, so please give us the freedom to marry and kill people in the military”. To ourselves, it’s “we’re different and special and should have pride”. So which is it? To me, it’s neither. I am not just like everyone else (who is?), but the fact that I suck dick does not make me particularly different from anyone else either. And pride should be the result of accomplishment; I just did what came naturally…

The “just like you” path to equal rights has always left me cold. To those who say there are issues other than sex involved, I would answer that sex is the only characteristic queers all share, and it’s the single reason queers face discrimination. Therefore, sex is absolutely the ONLY issue involved.

People have a right to choose whatever sexuality or relationship type they want. The gay movement is currently obsessed with fighting for equality by saying “I agree to copulate by your standards you in exchange for civil rights”. It should instead be demanding that “you must not discriminate against me based on the way I copulate”. I’m more inclined to fight for the freedom NOT to marry and still to be regarded as a complete human being.

Of course I support anti-discrimination legislation, and yes, I even support legal same-sex marriage. What I don’t support is this warm fuzzy visibility tactic which may have had some validity twenty years ago but no longer does. I think the time and money might be better spent on other things, a few strategically placed anti-discrimination lawsuits being at the top of the list.

And while we’re at it, let’s not forget the Equal Rights Amendment…

A Drinking Life

I hardly ever drink anymore and I’m glad. I was never really what you’d call an alcoholic anyway, but I used to drink a lot and there were times when it was a bit problematic. So maybe “drinking problem” would have been the correct term.

The first time was on New Years Even 1979-80. There were disastrous results. All of 1980 was a little disastrous now that I think about it. I didn’t drink much after that until I started going to queer bars at 19.

When I was in my twenties, it was not unusual for me to drink a 12-pack over the course of a evening and then drive home from wherever I happened to be. I’d have beers before going out, beers while I was out, and more when I got home. At last call, the normal procedure was to get two or three beers to last through that “generous” half-hour North Carolina bars give you to finish up.

Sometimes my friends and I would drive an hour and a half to Raleigh or Charlotte, drinking all the way in the car. We’d hit two or three bars and then drive home, maybe even having one or two more in the car on the way back. We never much thought anything about it. One night, a friend and I even drove to Myrtle Beach (a good 200 miles away) after last call, spent the day there, went out drinking that night, and drove home afterward for a grand total of 48 hours awake. It’s a miracle I made it to 30 alive and without a DUI.

It just seemed natural in those days to start drinking at 10 and continue as late as possible. I couldn’t imagine a party or a night out without lots of beer. I drank a lot at home too. I’d get drunk to make a tape or just get drunk to get drunk. Then I’d wake up the next morning and go to work, albeit with a bit of a headache.

Even into my thirties I could still pull a pretty serious drunk now and then, although living two blocks from my favorite bars at least kept me out of the car. There were the occasional weekends when my roomie and I would stay up all night and hit the Watering Hole or the End-up at 6AM. I spent many other weekends walking around drunk and in circles at sex clubs until I finally got bored with that.

The one day a year or two back, I realized I don’t drink much anymore. I haven’t really drunk at home in several years, and I can’t manage more than a couple of beers on my rare nights out either, unless I’m prepared to feel like I’m going to die the next morning. The thought of drinking and driving terrifies me.

In a way, I sort of miss it sometimes. But then I get my senses back, see how much weight I’ve lost and how much less stupid I act, and I get over it…

OK, It Was Wells Fargo…

When banking goes horribly wrong. My bank, which shall remain nameless in an effort to thwart identity thieves and libel suits, has stolen $600 from my account and they won’t tell me why. I deposited two checks Thursday night. One of them was “adjusted” the next day. This could mean anything; I may have forgotten to endorse it or whatever.

The problem is that no one can tell me what the hell happened. The phone support people say that I’ve been notified “by letter” and that’s all they know. God knows when I might see this wondrous letter, and it’s a good thing I don’t have any checks pending which will require that money. Yet.

Guess which major bank I’ll no longer be using when this mess is finally cleared up? If I screwed up and didn’t sign the check, I understand that they needed to return it. But couldn’t they at least include a notation to that effect on my account record so the phone support people could tell me what the fuck was going on?

Anyway, I promised a fun update, right? Here’ are some well-timed songs which hit my mood just right then past few days:

  • While cruising an adorable long-haired boy in a porkpie hat and trying to steal his attention from someone else: “Pulling Mussels from a Shell” by Squeeze.
  • While getting a blowjob from the aforementioned boy in a semi-public place as the spurned one watches: “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” by the Cure.
  • While driving down East Belmont in Fresno: “Rock and Roll Fantasy” by the Kinks. Note that this is NOT the song of the same name by Bad Company, which would make no superlative list of mine.

Busy couple of days. Jim was here Thursday, looking for that ever-elusive affordable house in SF. We had dinner at the Tennessee Grill and drove around in lots of circles. Which is OK, because I like doing both of these things.

Lunch at Jim’s Diner on Friday (different Jim), and dinner with Dan and Jamie at Val’s in Hayward on Friday night (review coming soon). And then on Saturday, I went to Fresno to do my laundry. Uneventful trip, actually, but I took lots of pictures (soon), bought cheap cigarettes, and was surprised by how excited I was to be paying only $1.55 for regular unleaded gas.

OK, so it wasn’t such a fun update. But there was sex at least, albeit quick and cheap sex…

No Phone

It was so quiet and calm here.

I hate using the phone, but I hate even more not being able to use it when I need to. For the past two days, I had no phone, no internet connection, no nothing. My front doorbell was probably the most effective way to contact me. Thanks Pacific Bell for being there when I needed you, TWO DAYS AFTER YOU FUCKED UP MY PHONE.

I’m sure my next door neighbor, who also had no phone for two days, was equally grateful. Some day soon, I’d like to think that Pacific Bell will realize it’s no longer a monopoly and start acting accordingly.

To those of you who might suggest I get a cell phone as a reserve against these little emergencies, I must reply that it seems a pretty big expenditure since I’d be too embarrassed ever to use it anywhere other than home anyway. Strolling through the Finincial District today, I realized (remembered?) that it’s damned near impossible not to look foolish walking down the street talking on the phone.

Things I’m a little embarrassed to admit enjoying today:

  • Wolfgang Puck’s Creamy Country Chicken Soup
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Things I’m not at all embarrassed to hate today:

  • Pacific Bell
  • The “layers” feature in Dreamweaver
  • Sleep deprivation

Stupid Radio Edit

And it’s a teenage sadness everyone has got to face. An in-between age madness that you know you can’t erase. Till she’s sittin’ on your face…

Sorry. I heard that song on Channel 104.9 (KABL was running a baseball game) the other day as I was crossing the Bay Bridge. I was strangely comforted to realize that American popular culture and morality has now advanced to the point where radio stations can now play the unedited versions of songs by The Knack from over 20 years ago.

“Till she puts you in your place” indeed…

There is, alas, no other real excitement in my life this week. We hit the Kripsy Kreme again Thursday night. I’m plugging away on the much anticipated (yeah, right…) fourth edition of Did You Bring Bottles. Submissions still solicited. I’m also working on things I’ll actualy get paid for, but that’s boring…

I’m thinking about a little road trip to LA in a few weeks. strangely enough, I’ve spent a grand total of about ten days there in my whole eight years in California. And I’ve never visited alone. There’s also never been an official Planet SOMA Road Trip to LA. So I think it’s time for a goo four or five days in the Southland. Details to follow. Should be fun now that I’ve cast aside my belief that San Francisco is the center of the known universe.

Randomly Wednesday

Thing I really hate today:

More or less complete strangers (with whom I’ve exchanged ONE very brief round of email) who spontaneously add me to their “forwarded forwarded email virus alerts ” mailing lists. I’m not too fond of ANYONE who does this, but to do it after one round of email is truly repulsive.

Note to sender: I don’t have a Windows machine (thank God), I’ve already deleted this message 20 times this year, and spam is bad enough, thanks, without having it come from “friends” too.

Realizations while listening to the 1980s station while driving to Safeway tonight:

You never would have heard a segue between Tone Loc and the Cure on any actual radio station during the actual 1980s. Things just didn’t work that way. Stations focusing on the 1960s and 1970s offer similarly improbable pairings of, say, Steppenwolf and Neil Diamond.

Commercial oldies stations have this way of mushing up an entire decade into a format which says “if it was a hit and it will make people stop changing stations until the next commercial, we will play it.” Which is, of course, the whole point of commercial radio. Keep in mind that you are not the radio station’s customer. You are its product, neatly delivered to its actual customers, the advertisers.

Of course, what this means is that commercial radio pretty much sucks as far as long-term listening goes (KABL excepted, of course). It’s not really designed for that, even though some of us still do it. I my be a program director’s wet dream; I’m so lethargic that once I have a station set, I don’t change it until the most heinous thing imaginable assaults me. Which is why I listen to college radio a lot…

Never much been one for switching stations a lot, be it radio or TV. Watching TV with a remote-happy partner who can’t stay parked for more than 30 seconds (my dad, for example) is my idea of an evening in hell. And, despite claims to the contrary, there must be a lot of others like me. Otherwise, the networks wouldn’t sandwich all their new (and often rotten) shows between two hits. This would also explain why I’ve started watching The Fresh Prince after Roseanne every day.

I’m sort of curious how other people feel about this too, but wondering aloud might result in a lot of email I probably won’t answer, so I’ll keep my mouth shut.

But I’m off the stated topic, I’ve used up my space, and I haven’t even gotten to my other realization: that “Oh Sheila” by Ready for the World really desperately wanted to be a Prince song. Or a Sheila E song, which is essentially the same thing, all in all.

Back to the grind…

Amazon Wish List

In the spirit of blatant consumerism, I’ve set up an Amazon Wish List, in case anyone was wondering what I wanted for, umm, Memorial Day. What better way to ask people I’ve never met to send gifts to me at an undisclosed address! I did not, however, use the email notification option. I imagine my friends are most grateful…

The day I realized I was finally a grownup was the day (sometime in early 1997, I think) that I realized that I was spending more money on reading material than on drinking. I’ve always read a lot, finding good used book stores is a major highlight of any road trip, and booksellers have easily surpassed bars and cruising spots as my most sought-after discoveries, with vintage supermarkets and thrift stores close runners-up.

I read non-fiction almost exclusively, although I did go through several “novel phases” in my 20s. And yes, I still read a proportionately large number of titles related to my college major (urban studies), although I never quite found the right occupation which might allow me to work at what interests me.

And I still read newspapers too. At least two on most days, and sometimes more, especially if I’m on the road. I prefer them in their actual paper format; I read the hometown paper online, just because I can’t buy it here, but holding the newspaper and taking it with you to the bathroom or on the bus is half the fun.

I still see the internet as an information source more than anything else as well. I don’t really look to the web to entertain me per se. Or maybe I do, since I find information to be infinitely entertaining. But once the dirty pictures phase (everyone goes through it, most outgrow it) wore off, I mostly went online in search of something specific and if I was in a “surfing” mood, it was usually a semi-directed surf all the same.

That’s probably why this site started out so information-heavy, despite its current emphasis on the journals. I know a little about a lot of things (and not a lot, alas, about any), so it’s natural things grew in many directions. An information junkie with a short attention span is a dangerous thing.

Especially when he starts babbling. Please hold me to the promise I’m now making to move off this half-assed semi-introspective crap and get back to my cynical and sarcastic roots very soon…