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04 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I've returned from Seattle.  Having spent yesterday canoeing on the Russian River, it's time to finish the myriad of updates to  A good number of people have been searching for "MINI of San Francisco".  So, I've created a page with just the entries about the MINI Cooper.  You can find it here.
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More updates later today.

05 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

From time to time I think about leaving San Francisco.  When I spend too many uninterrupted months here I can get a bit annoyed at our failing public transit system, crumbling streets, shifting population of homeless people, pigeons that live in the lightwell outside my bathroom window and the crystal-meth addicts who look for sex in the park across the street from my house.   I’ve learned when I grow tired of San Francisco’s faults the best cure is to travel to another city.  When the aeroplane tires touch the runway at SFO, I’m always happy to be home.

Two years ago I spent Thanksgiving visiting relatives in Bakersfield, a town roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  I was sitting in the lobby of the hotel doing nothing exceptionally queer and not looking less butch than normal when a man at the front desk looked over and said:  “Fucking faggot.”  It’s easy to forget the world is much more conservative on the other side of the bridge.

Despite being the purported home of grunge, Seattle is remarkably clean.  And everything closes promptly at 9 PM.  I’m not certain what people do in Seattle after 9 PM - they seem to vanish.  The tattoo shops, the second-hand clothing stores, and the coffee houses – they’re all empty, locked up, closed.  Sometimes I want Ben and Jerry’s at 10:30, and it’s nice to know the shop down the street is still open.  I might even have to wait in line. 
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I like a city where I can walk down the street holding hands with my lover without worrying about the proximity of a baseball bat.  I love being able to meander down endless streets with endless quirky houses.  I love our single screen movie theatres, our drag queens, our streetcars and the ferries on the bay.  I love going to bed at night knowing I might glimpse my neighbors beating off in their windows and wake up to see them working in their gardens in the morning.  San Francisco is flawed, fucked up, expensive and often unreasonable.  I love it all the same.  I suspect that means I’m codependent, but I can live with that.

I didn’t sit down to write an entry about loving San Francisco, I sat down to write an entry to introduce the new addition to this site:  Stairways of San Francisco.  Well, this piece works either way.  One of the things I love about San Francisco is our stairways, and you can see more of them here.

08 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I just bought a 1984 copy of Jane’s Fighting Ships.  If you’re unfamiliar with Jane’s, it’s a reference book found on the bridge of every warship.  In it you’ll find descriptions and photos of every fighting vessel in the world.
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It may be somewhat politically incorrect to say this, and some of my Quaker friends would definitely disagree, but the Cold War years were a good time to be in the Navy.  We shared a common enemy, and although both sides were too terrified to ever use the weapons we created (aside from minor skirmishes in minor countries), we built fabulous fleets of ships.  When I joined the Navy, we were working on building a huge fleet and to do so meant older ships stayed in service long past when they should be retired while sleek new ships sailed alongside.  Our Navy was a floating museum with the latest high tech appliances.

The Soviets maintained airbases just west of Japan, and once we reached mid point in the Pacific Ocean, Soviet Bears would fly overhead to watch us.  Soviet submarines would slink around our flanks and trawlers with massive radio arrays tailed our fleets.  From time to time the Soviets would fly so close you could see the men inside the cockpits smiling.  We’d wave at each other.  We were secure in the knowledge we could remove them from the sky if required.

The Cold War ended and we trumped up some reasons to let the military have its day in Iraq.  Once Saddam was effectively barricaded in his own borders, the purpose for a military built to face down the Soviets disappeared.  Military brass continued to look for reasons to maintain huge fleets of ships, but in the end most of those great vessels ended up moored in third world countries or used for razor blades.  Unless China and Taiwan decide to exchange blows over independence, the need for an armada is difficult to justify. 

One Christmas, over a decade ago, I stood just aft of a cruiser missile launcher with nuclear tipped missiles on the deck of a nuclear powered cruiser.  We were moored in Singapore, with the battleships Iowa and the Missouri on one side of us, the aircraft carriers Enterprise and the Nimitz on the other.  All around us were cruisers, destroyers, frigates and supply ships.  Ten years later, most of these ships are gone.  Flipping through the pages of Jane’s today, I relived that moment once more.

Common enemies help provide purpose for our lives.  In the absence of a shared foe, we have to confront the meaningless and emptiness of human existence and then create something to fill the void.  That can be a scary prospect, so scary we sometimes choose to create a foe rather than stare into the abyss.  Gays, Catholics, Muslims, Israelis, Palestinians, take your pick.  As long as I can hate you, I don’t have to admit I hate parts of myself and fear my existence.  A day spent staring over a fence is easier than a day spent staring in a mirror.

I’m not certain I want to return to the days of the Cold War, but I wouldn’t mind spending a day on 14,000 tons of steel moving at 30 knots across the ocean.

10 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Every year San Francisco has one week of unbearably hot weather.  In a city where we spend most of our days in flannel fending off the chill of fog, we’re completely unprepared for the heat.  We haul out fans, throw open the windows and hope the mosquitoes coming from Twin Peaks aren’t too bad.  This year, however, I decided I was done with nights of sweating and wishing for a breeze.  I bought a portable air conditioner.  The meter downstairs may be turning, but I’m sleeping perfectly well in a cool room.
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Taking a look in the dusty basement of memories again:  When I was young, my father had a special routine we called the Birthday Breakfast.  There were five children in my family and when it was your birthday, my father would come into your bedroom early in the morning and wake you up.  Then, the two of you would go to the restaurant of your choosing and you could have anything you wanted for breakfast.  In a family where money was generally tight, being able to have steak and eggs was a treat (although I usually opted for French Toast) as was being the sole attention of your father for a few hours.

I’ve been a fan of David for years: way back in the Planetsoma days, the switch to Otherstream and the somewhat gooey online-romance with Mark.  Today is David’s birthday, and while we missed any chance for a birthday breakfast (I didn’t think of it until this morning, and I suspect he may be having breakfast with someone else) I’ll be at his semi-public birthday party tonight.  Happy Birthday David.  Whatever anyone else brings you, I suspect having Mark is about the best present you can get.

11 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

The 20th Street Stairs have been added to Stairways of San Francisco. 
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David's party was quite fun.  I dread the pictures, however.  And I'm looking forward to seeing the organ from the Warfield.  Both of which are stories for another day...

12 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

While peeing in the restroom of one of my favorite restaurants last night, I noticed the little aroma-spraying device over the toilet included a built in clock.  Maybe this functioned to ensure the timely distribution of scented vapor, but it only served to remind me how late in the evening it was.  This caused me to think of how many devices in my life include clocks:  my stove, both my stereos, the DVD player, the VCR, the video projector, the little radio in my office, my mobile telephone and the MINI.  Add to these the clock in the kitchen, the bedside alarm clock and the combination clock/temperature gauge in the living room.
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I’m not a fan of clocks.  Generally when they tell me it’s time to get up, I’m not ready to do so and the same holds true of when they tell me it’s time to go to sleep.  Clocks remind me I have over an hour left, or only an hour left, depending on my excitement surrounding the activity at hand.  More importantly, clocks remind me that each second is adding to my age, which in reality is subtracting from the time I have in this physical body.  Since we’re never certain exactly when check out time is, it’s difficult to subtract from the number of seconds we have left and so we default to adding them to the days we’ve already lived.

Time is an odd way of measuring existence.  Our future is only guesswork until it becomes the present, and by the time we recognize the present, it’s become the past. 

Years ago I worked for a very wealthy man.  He asked me to go and purchase something for him.  When I went to the store, I was shocked at the expense and returned empty handed.  Explaining this to him I said:  “It was quite expensive.”  He looked at me and said:  “Never tell me something is expensive, simply tell me the price.  What is expensive to you is not expensive to me.”

Time, I suspect, is similar.  Compared to the time it takes light to travel from distant stars to our eyes staring upward, our lives are relatively short, even insignificant.  Balanced with the lifespan of a mosquito, our lives are luxuriously long.  Time then, is more subjective than objective.  While clocks divide and measure our lives into comparable intervals, people accumulate pieces and chunks of varying dimensions and treasure them for what they hold and not the dimensions they represent.

In short, the human experience cannot be reduced or measured by a mechanical device.  Our lives exist with a fullness that eludes our drive to be scientific and precise. 

13 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Happy Birthday, Dr. Ruiz.
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15 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I have not fallen off the face of the earth...I have not fallen off the face of the earth...I have not fallen off the face of the earth...

I’ve spent nearly all of the last three days working with clients.  It’s fun work, but it leaves little time for anything else.  I realized how much time I’ve been devoting to work and certain other activities when I walked out on the balcony this morning and saw the blackberries are creeping in around the edges of the garden.  I suspect it will be next summer before the garden is finished. 

I received a call from Dublin, Ireland yesterday asking if I might be interested in providing services for their local government.  I’ve yet to connect with the person who left the message, but I’ve visions of handsome men from Irish Spring commercials needing my consulting skills.
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I also talked with a television producer today who asked me to help work on a new reality show.  It’s in the planning stages and if it pans out will be shot in October.  Shown to a wide audience, my piece would include a theatre, lipstick and tricycles.  I’ll let you know if it comes to pass.

Aside from these mundane updates, I’ve nothing of substance, interest or depth to offer today.  I’d like to pretend I have something of merit to say each day.  Reality often fails to conform to imagination. 

I do, however, suggest you read the entry from David today.

17 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I’ve decided this morning I may run for Governor of California. 

The Republicans are offering a candidate whose business dealings look a bit more than shabby, and perhaps even criminal.  The Democrats are offering an incumbent who looks an awful lot like a Republican and has some equally questionable business dealings.

What this state needs is a male nun for governor.  Without the traditional ties to old-boy political parties, I’d take this state where it needs to go.  High speed rail to whisk us from place to place, solar panels on every rooftop to conserve energy while making use of our sun drenched climate, rhinestone accents for all uniformed public employees, and an exchange of all those dowdy state-owned vehicles for a new fleet of MINIs and SmartCars.  (Who wouldn’t like to be pulled over by a CHP trooper in a slightly tighter uniform driving a Cooper S series?  I see a surge in state traffic-fine revenue!)

If the candidates for public office are a joke, then the entire process should be a comedy.  Add levity to the Legislature!  Vote Sister Betty for Governor.  (Okay, this is actually an executive position, but “Add levity to the executive branch” just doesn’t have the same ring.)

Checking with the Secretary of State, I’ve learned to be a qualified write-in candidate, I need just 65 signatures from registered California voters supporting my candidacy.  Will you sign the petition to nominate Sister Betty for Governor?

19 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I’ve had one of those days where I’ve only left my desk to use the washroom.  At 5:30 PM I’m still staring at the waters of the Pacific Ocean beyond my window and reflecting on how quickly the day passed.  Which means this entry will again be short (in length) and short (in content).
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My proposal to run for Governor of California seems to have garnered some attention. David indicates I have his vote, which means I’m in like Oreos with the somewhat-
disgruntled-South-of-Market crowd.  Email is running in favor of my candidacy, although people seem to take exception to putting CHP into MINIs.  What if I equipped the MINIs with those cool British sirens, too?

I spoke with a former-politico-turned-promoter this weekend and we’ve begun planning for the big campaign kick-off party.  Stay tuned for details.

If Jesse Ventura can land in the Governor’s mansion, then so can I.  Although, I have to admit, I have no intention of ruling this state from Sacramento.  Sorry Sacramentites, it’s too damn hot in the Delta.  The Governor’s mansion will be a one-bedroom apartment in the Castro.  We’ll use the one in Sacramento for a homeless shelter or something; I have to think about it.

In case you are wondering, I do support the right to bare arms.  And bare breasts and butts, too. 

Yes, this is the most vacuous entry I have ever written.  I promise if I'm elected I'll write better ones. I’m going home now.

24 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Pope John Paul II has been busy canonizing new saints.  It’s a bit like lame duck Presidents pardoning their friends before leaving office.  Before the pontiff decides he’s done, I’d like to recommend for sainthood Anthony Shen, creator of the Netscape Browser Archive
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We all have secrets.  I’ve talked about mine from time to time.  Today I will tell my darkest secret.  Although I’d like to pretend I do most of my HTML coding by hand, I actually rely heavily on Netscape Composer – version 4.7.  Maybe there are others out there like me.  Perhaps I can start a movement.  We’ll all come out and admit we depend on an outdated browser to create web content.  We’ll have a Composer Pride Day, complete with a parade and a contingent called Parents and Friends of Likable but Goofy Webmasters.  We’ll insist corporate diversity statements include our kind and that health plans extend benefits to the plants and cats that share our homes.  Over time we’ll have to include people who rely on other outdated software like Hotdog, Coffee Cup and old versions of Dream Weaver. 

A new laptop and a new operating system forced me to download Netscape 6.0 this week.  Try as I may, I’m just not a 6.0 user.  It’s not a choice; it’s just what I am. I think I was probably born this way.  Someone will do a study some day that shows one in ten of us are.  In the Internet age, however, we’re never alone.  I searched and I found the Netscape Browser Archive, a place where you can download versions dating all the way back to Mosaic.  At least I use 4.7, so I can look down my nose at those who still use Mosaic.

It will probably be years before those of us who use prehistoric web applications are appreciated by the greater society.  We’ll be persecuted and ridiculed.  But, we know a secret:  the masses will continue to browse the free content we create unconscious of the truth behind the webpage.

25 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

It's 2:00 AM and I've just spent eight hours with Photoshop and HTML creating a new website for a non-profit group I work with.  Go, take a look
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Congrats to Mark on the job.  Happy Birthday, Wendy.  And, Becky, go to bed dear.

27 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I disclaim any responsibility for my cat’s new fetish with a foam-rubber penis provided by a local safe-sex project.  Cat nip mice are no competition for a four inch phallus with eyes and a smile.  The cats, however, seem completely uninterested in the accompanying foam-rubber syphilis canker.

Having spent twelve years involved in one type of social justice movement or another, I’ve experienced a fair share of marches, rallies, meetings and activities.  Although I believe strongly in the need to create a more reasonable world, I find in the past two years I have less and less interest in attending most the events sponsored by like-minded groups. 
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Whatever our intentions may be, I’ve come to believe the methods by which we attempt to create change are largely outdated and ineffective.  Marches, rallies, conventions and meetings are so numerous that whatever voice they may have once had is now lost in the din.  Standing in front of a government building, walking down a street, or listening to a speaker from some foreign land may make us feel better but do very little to bring substantive change to the world.  And so, given my choice, I’d rather stay home with a book and the cats than sit outside a prison protesting the death of someone who will die regardless of where I am.

I’ve also learned that many non-profit organizations which portend to support social change exist less to achieve that change and more to employ large numbers of professional anti-establishment establishment people.  There are many non-profit social organizations which do good and valuable work.  However, they rarely work to effectively end the socials ills from which they derive their cause, and if the problem ebbs, they alter their advertising or their goals to prevent what would be the natural decline of their purpose and existence.  Often these organizations are lead by expensive directors and managers who move from job to job, rarely attached to the stated goal of the organization.

Given that many of the methods and institutions designed to promote social change no longer function in that capacity, I’ve begun to consider what alternatives we might create.  What meaningful actions can we take which create a lasting and useful impact on the society as a whole?  How might we create movements which intelligently address problems without creating organizations that exist past their time and purpose? 

Throughout history people have created amazing solutions for problems.  Someone invented the catapult to throw objects over what seemed like an insurmountable wall.  Sooner or later, we’ll come up with a catapult for social change.

28 August 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Yesterday’s entry was so boring and poorly written I’ve banished most of it to the archives.  My apologies if you suffered reading past the first paragraph.  If you are a masochist, then the entire thing can be found here
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[To clear up a lingering rant, here is a hint for the non-web-inclined: If the words are a different color and underlined, they are links and you can click them to see something else.  Please don’t send me email saying “You said I could find the thing here, but it wasn’t there.”  Of course it isn’t, you have to click here to go there.  Anyone still confused?  Me too.]

It’s time for a minor vacation.  The guy who appreciates bad sculpture and I are headed to Arizona for a few days.  We’re going to see the sun, swim in a pool, ride a railroad, visit the Grand Canyon, possibly sleep in a wigwam, eat copious amounts of red meat, starchy foods and dessert, and [gasp!] drive an SUV.  The untrained observer might even mistake me for being straight until the waitress comes and takes my drink order.

I love being gay.  If I was straight, I couldn’t get away with using [gasp!] in the middle of a sentence.  If I were straight, it would also be harder to explain why I enjoy sleeping with men so much. 

Yes, I really do need to go on vacation.  I'll be back in time for Ba-da-Bingo!  Cheers!


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