The Real World


Mmmm. Yummy long-haired boy…

Damn Mark for writing something about that Real World – New York marathon before I had a chance to. I was watching it too. Even stayed up until 1:30 in the morning to finish it, at which point I promptly turned off the TV before being assaulted by the London brats, the SF brats, or, God forbid, the Hawaii or LA wankers.

Didn’t much care for Eric the gym clone; despite his chest and all, he was just too well-scrubbed and plastic (and a bit of an asshole). Predicatably, the one I craved was Andre. He’s in an LA band called Milkweed now, in case you care. But Andre aside, the whole New York cast was the only one I really liked. They were people whose party I would have gone to. Most of the subsequent youngsters were people I’d avoid like the plague, which is probably why I never watched the show much after 1992.

And yes, I’m skipping Survivor too. I just can’t imagine caring what happens to ANYONE in that collection of Blind Date rejects.

I think “The Real World” was a brilliant idea for a show, despite its “casting” since the first year. In 1992, of course, I’d just moved from the south to the big city. I wasn’t Julie (I most certainly wasn’t anything approaching a virgin) but I got the concept all the same. And, of course, this show was the direct precursor to today’s web journals, spycams, blogs, etc. It gave a whole generation the idea of enjoying intimate gimpses of complete strangers doing more or less nothing.

Unfortunately, it also led to Friends

The Weekend

The weekend’s passed pretty damned quickly, I must say, even though I haven’t really done all that very much.

Friday night was dinner with Jamie at this coffee shop by Lake Merritt in Oakland which serves grits. Had a big glob of them with my chicken-fried steak, while these two creepy fags in matching shirts kept staring at me. A consequence of having been recognized in public a few times because of your website is that you never know if you’re being cruised or just recognized. In this case, I didn’t much care. They both gave me the willies, and it wasn’t just the matching outfits.

Went out Friday night, and everyone I saw gave me a similar case of the willies.

On Saturday, I had Dan and Jamie over for jambalya (frozen), collard greens with cabbage (fresh), jalapeño black-eyed peas (canned), corn bread (mix), and strawberry shortcake (fresh). We watched Roadside Prophets, which is one of my favorite movies no one’s ever seen. Two more people have seen it now, and this is a good thing.

Today, I’m working on a website I don’t much like as a favor to a boss at a part-time job I very much hate. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether I meant that I hate the job, the boss, or both right now. Either way, it’s not a great way to spend an afternoon. Of course, it’s not entirely without compensation. I get a percentage of every video which will never be sold on this site no one will ever visit. And I get to spend my Monday morning at work in relative peace.

Off to cruise the Monster Board again.

Video Memories

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been engaging in the tediously entertaining task of dubbing all my 8mm camcorder videos (dating back to 1994) to VHS. I’m in the middle of 1998 now.

A couple of things I’ve realized in the process:

  • My hairline has remained pretty constant since 1995.
  • The early videos (where I was using the video camera as a video camera rather than as a glorified still camera to get screen shots for the website) were much more entertaining.
  • I really porked out in 1997 and 1998. I think a good chunk of it’s gone now.
  • My apartment used to be the most disgusting, nasty pigsty in the world.
  • I hate my “conversational voice”.
  • I like my mom and dad a lot and I miss being around them on a regular basis.

It’s kind of fun going back and looking at the old stuff again. I’ve seen people I forgot I knew and places I forgot existed. And this is only after 5 1/2 years. It’s amazing how much San Francisco has changed (mostly for the worse, I’m afraid) in this short period of time.

I’ve watched Sarah’s hair grow from millimeters to inches. I’ve enjoyed close-ups of food from every diner and dive imaginable. I’ve seen myself having sex on numerous occasions. I’ve re-lived road trips and visits from friends. And, as always, I’m still more concerned with what I didn’t shoot than with what I did. South of Market, before it succumbed to yuppie cancer, would be one thing I’d like more of. More sex would be nice too, but I imagine I already have more of that on tape than most people anyway.

It was not a bad way to kill a few days, all things considered.

Dating

A good friend emailed me this week. At the end, he off-handedly asked if I was seeing anyone lately. I stifled a little chuckle when I read it. I can’t even remember the last time I was actually dating someone, but 1995 comes to mind. I can’t even remember the last time I met someone who satisfied the three main criteria by being:

  • Worth the effort
  • Interested
  • In the same time zone as me

Being both a hermit and not particularly adept at relationships anyway, it’s probably a good thing for all concerned that no one really qualifies. I don’t really want to be dating someone right now, although I’ve been just socialized enough to feel a slight lack of self-esteem due to my terminal bachelorhood. I’ve often though that the right dog would give me much more satisfaction than almost any boyfriend I might find.

Yeah, I think I’d like a dog. But I’d probably change my mind the first time it took a shit on the carpet. Which suggests that a kid is pretty much out of the question as well. But that’s no surprise either…

The Problem with Websites

For those of you who have asked, I am indeed the adorable brown-haired tyke on the left in Wednesday’s front page picture. I have no idea who I was holding hands with, although I remember that I was vaguely related to him and he lived in Florida. I did, after all, warn you that I’m bad with relationships.

Don’t you hate it when you go to the grocery store just to get a gallon of milk, end up spending thirty bucks, and come home to find a phone message from someone you’ve really pissed off with an old (and now swiftly removed) journal entry? Especially when the last thing you wanted to do was piss them off?

It’s happened once or twice before; I was writing something that I thought revealed (comically or otherwise) what a head case I was. But it was read by another person in the scenario as a slight to them instead. And probably with good reason, as I read it again. As I mentioned in a desperately apologetic email response, the sponteneity of the web is both a blessing and a curse.

OK, you’re right. The average person probably doesn’t hate it when that happens because the average person’s evening probably ends with the thirty bucks worth of groceries. Which is probably best. After this, I think my evening’s going to end with a beer. Or seven.

If anyone has a spare hole around the house, I’d like to borrow it so I can crawl in and die, please.

Smoking Bad

A hangover without even gettng drunk the night before. That was Friday, with the lethal combination of not sleeping well the night before and then getting up and smoking like a chimney while finishing a mockup for a new porn site for hire the next morning.

I have to quit smoking very soon. But dammit, I’ve quit almost everything else. Smoking is all I have left. And when I’m working on websites, I’m a little like the stereotyped reporter in old movies: a cigarette constantly burning as I hover over the keyboard. I’m not sure how I’d function otherwise.

Yesterday’s unpleasantness is now smoothed over and I no longer feel like crawling into a hole and dying of embarrassment. OK, I still do, but it’s not nearly as severe as it was yesterday.

Dinner at Tad’s with Dan and Jamie last night. It’s nice knowing the owner; he’s a complete sweetheart who may not be long for this world. He gave us dessert and told us corny stories. We like Don.

And today my mission is to save Mark from becoming a lonely, psychotic old man sitting around the apartment training his killer cat to do God knows what…

Pride

I’m really proud of myself tonight.

I did my laundry without having run completely out of socks and underwear, and with only two months having passed since the last time I did it. This is pretty major; doing the laundry is, at best, a quarterly occurence in my washerless world.

Afterward, I made this glop with chicken, macaroni, and broccoli for dinner. I’m not nearly as proud of it. It’s good enough that I’ll finish it, but not good enough that I’ll ever make it again.

Things I love today:

Things I hate today:

  • Lukewarm onion rings with a double cheeseburger combo.
  • Laundromats.
  • A significant portion of Daly City.

I took a bit of an email break this weekend. I should be caught up tomorrow night, so if you think you’re being ignored, you’re happily mistaken…

Radomly Tuesday

I have to say this. I don’t believe that Steve Young’s retirement from the San Francisco 49ers is really so newsworthy as to merit consuming a good third of the 6:00 News yesterday. He’s a football player, for God’s sake, which makes him essentially nothing but an overpaid entertainment personality.

They didn’t give Joe DiMaggio that much airtime when he DIED, and he was even multi-talented. I challenge you to compare his Mr. Coffee commercials to Steve Young’s half-assed Toyota spots any day of the week…

More non-news: Sinead O’Connor is officialy a lesbian. I imagine she’ll stay true to her track record and approach this development just as annoyingly and self-righteously as she does everything else. Molly Ivins’ quips do more for progressive politics in any given single day than Sinead’s tortured whining will do in her whole lifetime. Why, pray tell, do so many of my fellow leftists feel that having any discernible sense of humor somehow detracts from their message?

Enough of this. I’m now being excited that, a week from today, my pal Duncan and I will be tooling down Highway 101 to Santa Monica to stay in a spiffy, expensive hotel by the beach. We’ll be doing other things too (I, for example, plan to be seducing several of The WB’s male stars), but the hotel is what I have a link to right now…

We may hit Fresno on the way back, but I’m not sure, as I’ve already done my laundry for this month. And if you don’t know what the two have to do with each other, you haven’t been reading long enough

Besides, Fresno can’t be much hotter than San Francisco feels today. Second ugly heatwave so far this year. I am not enjoying this summer…

Scenes from Hell

Scenes from hell:

  • It was as hot today in San Francisco as it’s ever been, at least since they started keeping records in 1871. That’s a milestone I could have missed, thanks.
  • Today’s high was 103. The normal high for today is 71.
  • The power went out just as I was typing this entry before. I imagine it’s because I turned on the TV, giving the whole west coast power grid that last push it needed before collapsing.
  • I was scared to turn on the microwave earlier for the same reason, but I did it anyway when I considered the implications of turning on the stove.
  • It 11:30 at night, it’s almost 90 in my living room and I’m sweating as I type. And I don’t type very fast either.
  • Any of the seven San Franciscans with air conditioning could easily have his way with me tonight.
  • I skipped dinner with Dan and Jamie tonight rather than risk being on a crowded bus or (God forbid) walking to the Mission.
  • Instead, my neighbor and I hung out at the deli case at Safeway. It was nice.
  • It’s ironic that my trip to LA next week may actually expose me to better weather than we’re having here.

On that LA subject, thanks for all the tips, dinner invites, etc. Next week’s trip will actually be a bit of a quickie, so I’m not sure how much time I’ll have. The “official” Planet SOMA LA Road Trip will be later this summer. I may even make it to San Diego, although I must admit I’d be doing so only to visit a few friends there and not because of any particular affection for the place.

More to come. I’m going to bed now. I harbor no illusions that I’ll actually sleep…

Pride 2000

I’d like to announce the first annual San Francisco Brunette Chestnut Auburn Dirty Blond and Multi-hued Pride Festival. Members of the BCADBMH community from around the country will be participating to celebrate our pride in our pigmentation and our glorious brunette culture.

Several brunette bands (chosen for their hair color rather than their talent, of course) will be playing at the center stage. You can buy “I’m not a brunette but my boyfriend is” T-shirts along with miniature brunette pride flags just across the street in the Marketplace.

We expect a turnout of several thousand of our BCADBMH brothers and sisters, not to mention a few hundred supportive blondes and redheads. We anticipate a few protestors from the Ex-Brunette Ministries armed with Clairol, peroxide, and the like, but our security forces will keep them at bay.

The festival aims to be inclusive. There will be marchers from many individuals and groups who define themselves solely in terms of their hair color. Participants will include groups such as the PBBEG (Pacific Bell Brunette Employees Guild, PFAB (Parents and Friends of All Brunettes), QOHC (Questioning Our Hair Color) and the LGHBL (League of Gray-haired Brunette Lovers). Floats from several of San Francisco’s BCADBMH bars and nightclubs will also be featured.

So come on out. Celebrate your hair color and the fabulous music, art, and fashion which naturally spring from this inborn characterisitc. Show your stuff: hats are allowed, but not encouraged.

The festival is sponsored by Acronym Power, Inc.

San Francisco Sanity Breaks

Had dinner at a place called The Dead Fish in Crockett Friday night with Dan and Jamie. It was a good place, but not the dive that the name and building suggested. We were all suckered in. Thinking it had been there for ages, we asked the waitress when the place opened. “November 23,” she replied.

Oh well. They had great scallops anyway.

Afterwards we drove through downtown Crockett and Port Costa. Great un-yuppified river towns, both of them. Not a Starbuck’s nor a smoothie shop in sight. Only a half hour out of San Francisco and you can completely forget you’re in the Bay Area. Which is often a very good thing.

I have a few friends here who are proud to say they never leave San Francisco except maybe on vacation. I don’t understand. Getting out of the city occasionally is almost essential for maintaining sanity. And I say this as someone who doesn’t much care for the country.

I leave San Francisco at least once (and usually two or three times) every weekend, to enjoy things like pizza in Hayward, thrift store runs in Redwood City, bookstores in Santa Rosa, doughnuts in Union City, and the sheer magic of driving through just about any part of Oakland. Half the fun of living in the Bay Area is that there is so very much intersting stuff surrounding it.

A car helps, but it’s not essential. Take BART to Berkeley. Grab a CalTrain to Gilroy or a ferry to Vallejo. There’s a whole interesting world out there despite our snobbish dismissals of “the ‘burbs”. It might do many San Franciscans a world of good to realize this fact and experience the rest of the planet (or at least the rest of the Bay Area) once in a while.

Quick LA Trip


Photo by Duncan…

I’ve been to Southern California again and lived to tell about it.

Actually, I like LA, although I stop just shy of loving it. Even acknowledging its existence, of course, is not something most San Franciscans like to do. Contrary to our long-held assumptions, LA is considerably more important on a national (and worldwide) scale and it DOES have culture. I’ve always known this.

I’m even going back in a few weeks for a longer trip. This was a quick trip and was pretty consumed by hanging out with the stars of The WB and chatting up some cute boy from Syracuse at their glamorous party in Santa Monica. We did, however, make it to the world’s oldest standing Bob’s Big Boy in Toluca Lake, and I saw the water tower where the Animaniacs live. LA may be the greatest place in the world for those long, pointless drives I love so. Had a great time, all in all.

Duncan’s still visiting and I’m not in the mood to type, so I’ll hand over the front page to him now:

“Greetings to Planet SOMA and its readers… How y’all doin’?”

Duncan adds that he doesn’t really sound like that when he talks. More soon…

The Rest of the Weekend

Took Duncan to the airport this morning, hit the supermarket, and then experienced SF Gay Pride firsthand as I tried to find a parking space in the same zip code as my house. I repeat my call for the parade to be shifted back to its old route (ending in the Finacial District rather than Civic Center, which is way too close to home).

Now, groceries stowed (if a little wilted after driving around in circles), I’m munching on a chocolate doughnut from Alberston’s and watching Fatal Vision on A&E. I’m Proud™ to be home, Proud™ not to be wearing an ugly white tank top and rainbow beads, and VERY Proud™ not be sweating or sunburned.

I may vacuum later, once again using the Glade Carpet Neutralizer which means I can’t smell the embedded cigarette smoke, even though everyone else probably still can.

Duncan’s visit was fun. In addition to Santa Monica, we made some nice long drives to nowhere (a patented Planet SOMA activity) and ate well. I finally saw the second series of Tales of the City and we hit the corner saloon briefly on Thursday night. A couple of nice men fondled me while Duncan waited patiently at the bar. And we had dinner with Dan and Jamie on Friday night.

 

It’s very much whetted my appetite for some more time in LA. Details to come. For now I’m Proud™ that I have plenty of toilet paper so I don’t have to leave the house again today…

Be forewarned that this picture has absolutely nothing to do with anything else on today’s front page…

Well, some days it’s just fun coming home and reading the email. Today’s collection brought an offer to write essays for an actual printed magazine (for money even) and an interview for an upcoming article in the Portland Oregonian. I think this is my first actual legitimate newspaper interview. My importance to the article will be minimal; I’ll be coy and say that the subject invoved bottles

So all in all, I’m feeling pretty happy with today. My ego has been stroked. And I’m still happy about how nicely several other parts of my body were stroked Sunday at the corner sex bar. Note to cute spiky-haired boy: spitting is not really any more or less “safe” than swallowing. And watch those teeth, dammit…

Sorry. I was just practicing for the essay gig; it’s supposed to be vaguely sex-related, and since I don’t really write about sex much lately (as there hasn’t been much sex to write ABOUT lately), I’m a little out of practice…

The length of that last sentence might have cost me the job anyhow…

Digital Reminiscing

Vague nostalgia this afternoon. After reading the nice things Becky said about me on her new site, I started thinking back to who inspired me as I was getting started with Planet SOMA back in the dark ages of the mid 1990s.

Unfortunately, a lot of the sites I was looking at back in 1995 and 1996 no longer exist, with the notable exception of Justin’s Links from the Underground, which could easily be called the grandfather of the personal web site. I guess it’s been a primary inspiration over the years, even though I rarely stop by anymore.

The personal sites I look at regularly these days would include these:

I don’t get around much these days. Life is about spending less time in front of the computer, not more time…

Neither do I spend as much time on email. I was moving all my archived mail from ZIP disks to my hard drive today and I looked at some of the older stuff. I realized that:

  • I used to engage in serious ongoing correspondence (daily even) with people I’d never met. I don’t do nearly as much of this now.
  • I used to have email relationships with a few people which were considerably more flirtatious than I remember.
  • There are a lot fewer people using AOL than there used to be. Or at least a lot fewer of them are contacting me.

I’ve reached the bottom of the page and I’m hungry, so I’ll stop short of tying this all together into ny sort of coherent thought or theme.