Visitors from DC

Busy weekend. In addition to lots of work, I had two unrelated visitors from DC, both of whom are in the process of moving here, despite all my admonitions to the contrary.

People just won’t listen.

Did lots of work on Friday, while cursing my lack of font management and miscellaneous other system traumas, the result of moving old shit to a new computer. I’m more or less past profanity now, at least.

Got out of the house for a while on Saturday, and then picked up Matthew (DC visitor #1) at the airport. Went out to the neighborhood saloons. Was not much amused. Slept.

And damn, did it rain today. So after cooking breakfast (eggs, sausage, tomatoes, grits, toast , and fruit, for those of you keeping score) and helping Matthew find his temporary abode, I didn’t leave the house the rest of the day. I threw a corned beef brisket into the oven and started to work.

Jim (DC visitor #2) visited for a while to fondle my new Mac. Dan stopped by to help me eat the corned beef (along with kraut, mustard horseradish, salad, and ice cream, for those of you STILL keeping score).

And then we watched The Simpsons. It was painful. All good things must come to an end, and this one definitely has.

Ever watch any of those crappy made for TV Warner Bros. cartoons from the 1960s, where (for example), Speedy Gonzales, Daffy Duck, and Petunia Pig might all be teamed up for no apparent reason? The ones produced long after all the talent was gone from Warner Bros.? The Simpsons gives this same feeling lately. No life, no characterization, too many in jokes and trivia references and not much else. The whole show seems like a lame attempt to set up a few sight gags which aren’t particularly funny anyway.

It’s sad. I’d suggest a dignified euthanasia might be in order, but Fox probably wouldn’t agree given their current lack of hits (or direction).

Anyway, I worked even more afterward, and still didn’t finish everything I needed to, and now I’m going to bed. So there.

Good Frame of Mind

It’s been an insanely busy week (this is a recording…), but I find myself in a really positive frame of mind right now. It’s an unusual condition, and I’m sure it won’t last very long, so I’m figuring on enjoying it while I can.

Things just seem to be going well lately. I’m working a lot, but I’m not doing anything I hate (see exception below), and I even like all the people I’m working for. I have a zippy new computer, I’ve been maintaining generally good moods, and the house is even relatively clean.

There’s one weak link, my crutch, if you will. It’s the evil, hateful, soul-sucking on-site part-time job I still force myself to face 20-25 hours a week. I almost walked out last week. I foresee getting even closer this week. I just don’t care anymore.

It’s not so much that I hate any one single aspect of the job, although I do hate the fact that it’s much less flexible than it was when I was recruited into it a couple of years back. It’s more that I resent being there (and HAVING to be there at specific day and time), particularly now that I’m doing a lot more freelance work. I feel like I’m wasting my time when I could be spending it much more productively (at 2-3 times the hourly rate, thanks).

I particularly hate that I’ve become somewhat “indispensable”, more through lack of staff and training than through any particular greatness on my part. This, of course, makes my “flexible” part time job even less so.

So why don’t I just quit and spare myself the agony of this one glaring negative in an otherwise positive period? Largely because I’m scared to, I guess. It’s a sea of steady income in the feast or famine freelance world. And I’ve been working for this company off and on for over ten years, although I’ve spent the past two and a half in a wholly administrative capacity. And, if nothing else, it gets me out of the house once in a while.

I know. I need to give it up. I will very soon. Encouragement and long-term freelance projects actively solicited.

Things I love this week:

  • They Might Be Giants
  • Stouffers on sale, selected varieties, 4 for $5 at FoodsCo.
  • Mark, for doing me TWO big favors recently.
  • The book I’m reading on the history of Winn-Dixie.
  • Ma Pinkie’s Barbecue and Soul Food in San Mateo


Don’t really give a shit about football? Yeah, neither do I. But I DO love Super Bowl Sunday. It’s such a calm, quiet day. No one’s out roaming about. In a severely overcrowded place (by American standards) like San Francisco, a day like today is a special treat.

The best part: when I woke up early this morning, it was pouring down rain. A dark, rainy Sunday with no pressing commitments is a truly wonderful thing. At least until the sun comes out.

Or until you go the grocery store.

I hate Albertson’s. Again. Still. In my last four visits, I’ve been overcharged three times on sale items. Specifically, they charge me for both of their much-promoted “buy one get one free” specials. The first two times, I didn’t catch it until I got home. The third time, I didn’t buy anything on sale anyway. But by today, I checked my receipt at the register and realized I’d been screwed again.

I could see this happening once, but on three out of four visits, scattered over a month? It never happens to me at Safeway or at Raley’s (or Harris-Teeter or Kroger). Frankly, it ain’t a very good way for a company to make a good name for itself in a new market. I want Lucky back.

More things I hate today:

  • Yet another increase in the price of cigarettes.
  • The laundromat.
  • The sun finally came out.
  • Bad news via e-mail about my uncle who’s in the hospital.

On the plus side, things that I love:

  • My growing family of houseplants (now at 9).
  • The “Pop-up Video” version of “Leif Garrett: Behind the Music”
  • A good night’s sleep.

All in all, though, life is good. I actually rested this weekend. I needed it. And I feel better than I have in a month. I’ve made a few decisions about the evil part-time job as well, but you’ll just have to wait.

Now, if I could just quit smoking…

Favorite Forks and Regular Guys

I have a favorite fork. You underprivileged souls with nicely matching silverware sets might find that concept a little foreign. I understand. It would be quite difficult to have a favorite fork when all your forks look alike.

My silverware, though, is — well, let’s call it “eclectic”. It’s been acquired through trips to various thrift stores. None of it is particularly noteworthy, with the exception of one set, of which I have about three settings. All the pieces have little sputniks on them. I love little sputniks; I even have saucers with little sputniks.

I have a favorite spoon, too. It’s an ice cream parlor spoon, so it’s bigger than usual. It’s great for cereal. Do you have a favorite fork or a favorite spoon?

Do you think these regular guys do?

Interesting site that last one, huh? Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s great that they have a group dedicated to sports and “guy stuff”. But my god, could they use the word “masculine” a few more times? Sounds a little like a penis size contest to me, although they make it clear the group is not at all about sex.

I’m not into sports, and therefore I guess I’m not masculine. But that’s OK. It’s not something I really aspire to anyway. I think, though, that if I were forming a group of my fellow sodomites who were into sports, I’d refer to it as “a group of sodomites who are into sports”, rather than a group of “masculine men”. I guess all the sissy sports fans I’ve known wouldn’t be welcome.

Nor would I. And that’s OK too. Trust me on this one.

Non-masculine things I’ve done today:

  • Yelled “where’s my damned trivet” while cooking dinner.
  • Crossed my legs in the unmanly knee over knee fashion.
  • Admitted publicly (in front of, gasp, women and heterosexuals) that, until last night’s news, I didn’t even know that Tennessee HAD a pro football team.
  • Addressed two of my houseplants by name.
  • Discussed my silverware online.

No, I don’t fear “masculinity” because it’s “threatening”. I fear it because I have no earthly idea what it’s supposed to be (and I don’t particularly care).

Today in History

Glad everyone got a little chuckle out of the regular guys. Good response to that one, which proves (once again) that people never respond to what you think they will.

Turns out the wording on my contact page has given some people the impression that I don’t necessarily read all my email. This is not true. I read everything; it’s the responses that I’m treating a little too casually these days. I’d love to say it’s getting better, but it’s not. Which is sad.

Eighteen years ago today, I met my friend Jeff in a public toilet. We’d met before, but this time I realized that neither of us was really there to take a piss.

Seventeen years ago today, I had a first encounter with someone I believed to be a really nice guy. We had nasty sex in my grandmother’s house (I was house-sitting). Didn’t see him again until sixteen years ago tomorrow, and that second reunion started a very unpleasant 1984. I looked at the coincidence involving the dates as a sign that this was something good. Now I realize that said coincidence was merely unfortunate.

Fifteen years ago today, I was in Raleigh, crying my eyes out, but we covered that a few months back.

Thirteen years ago today, I was developing a crush on a skate rat who later invaded my home for several weeks. He was cute as a bug’s ear, but h only liked girls.

Twelve years ago today, some friends did a Culture Club song in drag. it was pretty good.

Not that any of this really means anything, and not that anything particularly significant happened today, but this time of year is one of those which has historically produced events which seemed worthy of journal entries at the time.

Not this year, though, I guess…

Off to Fresno

Took a road trip this weekend and didn’t even take the camera. It was kind of nice for a change, although taking the camera wasn’t really an option anyway, since I haven’t gotten it fixed yet.

I just love Fresno, and I’ve yet to find anyone who really agrees with me on this one. It’s such a strange place, physically and psychologically.

I’ll restate the basics first: Fresno is (I believe) the largest American city not served by an Interstate or US highway. There are no VHF television stations there. Test marketing and surveys are often done here because Fresno is apparently one of the most typically American cities to be found.

Which is surprising to me, simply because I find Fresno so very odd. While progress has moved northward, the southern and middle sections of the city has remained virtually unchanged physically (although the demographics have changed considerably). Fresno is like a lab, possibly the best place around to study the history of urban development since the 1950s.

Downtown Fresno was deserted by traditional business decades ago, but Fulton Street bustles with local, largely Latino-owned shops and restaurants. Old department stores have been transformed into bazaars selling electronics and counterfeit Nikes. The former Safeway on Ventura Street looks exactly as it did in 1965 (avocado, orange, and purple interior intact), the only changes being a new sign out front and a large map of Mexico above the meat department.

Old shopping centers from the 1950s flank the wide boulevards, set at approximately one-mile intervals. These centers often house some of the same stores they did on opening day. The clientele has changed, but the stores opted to adapt rather than to flee.

The economic malaise which has gripped Fresno and much of the Central Valley over the past few decades has allowed much of the inner city to look just the way I remember cities looking when I was a kid. Malls and “big box” stores are not in evidence (although they do exist in the northern part of town). The Baskin-Robbins in the dying Manchester Center still has simulated wood paneling. There are still local supermarket chains and drug stores.

Sadly, I must admit, too many of the Denny’s have been converted into the terrifically annoying faux 1950s “Denny’s Diner” concept, which looks like some sort of “laverne and Shirley”-inspired nightmare. We are not amused.

Maybe it’s just comforting in a strange way. More tomorrow, including queer bars, strange radio stations, and the drive-in I finally managed to eat at over five trips and six years…

The Family

They buried my uncle today in Greensboro. Of course, I wasn’t there. I feel sort of bad, but there was no way I could go east right now. This is the third time I’ve had an aunt or uncle die since I’ve lived in California. I haven’t been able to go home for a single funeral. The time and cost factors are just too prohibitive when you live 3000 miles from home.

I fear it will be a more frequent occurrence in the next few years. Each time there’s a death among my parents’ siblings or their spouses, I think about the fact that my parents are getting on in years too. They won’t be around forever, and I don’t want my last memories of them to revolve around phone calls and one single visit home every year.

I’d like to get to know my parents again before it’s too late.

It’s not as if we’re estranged or anything, and it’s not as if I’m expecting them to die anytime soon. We get along well and we talk often. But we can only maintain a superficial relationship via long distance and email. I want to watch TV with my dad and go shopping with my mom. I want to listen to stories and to go out to dinner with them and even to indulge in the occasional hug.

I’ve spent most of my life running. Running from my hometown and running from all the attention I got as an only child. I often felt that I needed to get as far away from home as possible in order to live my own life on my own terms. And all my life, I’ve kept things from them fearing more that they’d worry than that they’d dispprove or lecture.

Except, of course, in high school, when I was doing lots of rally stupid things so they WOULD notice and stop thinking of me as their “perfect little boy”. But that’s another story entirely…

I don’t feel that urge to run anymore (at least not from my parents). I have my own life, and I think it’s less dependent on geography. I’m not really planning on moving back to my hometown. I just don’ t particularly like it there, for a number of reasons. But I am planning to move a whole lot closer and to do it fairly soon.

I think I can go home now.

Maybe that’s why I had such a great time in Fresno this weekend. Or maybe not. Anyway, the promised “more details” will be coming soon, as will some pictures from the “Mary and Rhoda” hot dog feast Sarah and I had last night…

Randomly Friday

Lifestyle links du jour:

And now, our regularly scheduled journal entry…

I was home sick most of the day yesterday. I’m over it now, but I was feeling moderately crappy, an definitely felt no urge to drg my ass to the evil part-time job. So I watched movies and TV all day. I sat through an entire half hour of Misterogers Neighborhood. It’s been a long time, but I still instinctively recognized that musics and I knew that we were about to go to the Land of Make Believe when he started rolling that toy trolley across the table. I still got a little excited too. Should that worry me?

I also started the tedious process of teaching myself both Dreamweaver and Adobe Golive. And the other tedious process of doing my annual pruning and re-modeling of Planet SOMA.

The re-modeling won’t be major; I’ve fiddled with the design enough over the past year and I like it the way it is. But I’ll be eliminating lots of older, weaker, and out of date pages. Some of them are already gone, the seriously outdated sex club guide being one of the first to go. Some older rants are being edited and dropped into the journals. The road trips are being edited as well, in hopes that I might actually go on a new one sometime soon.

Of course, deleting pages is not difficult. Deleting all the links to them is, especially when there are several hundred pages on the site.

I’m also working on the long-overdue new issue of Did You Bring Bottles. Stories and pictures are, once again, actively solicited. In addition to a few more pages on the Safeway saga, I’ll be starting an A&P section. Soon.

It’s time for lunch now, methinks…

Don’t Fear the Reaper

It’s always a happy thing to walk into your corner queer bar to the sound of Blue Oyster Cult.

I had larger than average dose of nightlife this weekend: two nights. Based on my recent track record, that’s noteworthy. And all in all, it didn’t suck. Ran into some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, heckled some yuppie idiots in front of Julie’s Supper Club, got wet, etc.

I didn’t get laid, of course. That would be too much to ask. This has a lot to do with the fact that I didn’t really see many appealing prospects. But the main reason, of course, is that I’d cleaned up the house and changed my bed, which is almost a guarantee that no one would get a chance to see it. Never fails.

I did finally meet Shane, two and a half years after the first time we tried to hook up in Kansas City. That was a bonus. We talked, I tried to convince him not to move here, I asked about some other friends in KC, and we discussed how many other domain-owners were lurking in the Hole at the same time.

I watched a little uninspired group sex at My Place, and then went to the Eagle, arriving quite damp, thank you. There I divided my time between two friends who don’t get along too well (always fun but they were on good behavior) and smoked a lot of cigarettes on the patio.

I went home before last call and pondered having a nice wank, but I decided to sleep instead.

Now it’s Sunday afternoon and I find myself with a shocking urge for cheap sex. Of course, this being Sunday afternoon, there are few places where it’s available (or at least few places I’m inclined to visit).

So I think I’ll go to the grocery store instead. A reasonble substitute, I reckon…