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01 October 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Quotes I found last night in Faith and Practice of the Pacific Yearly Meeting:
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“We need to find the courage to assert and act upon the hope, however naïve, that community can be found, because only acting ‘as if’ can we create a future fit for human habitation…Community means more than the comfort of souls.  It means, and always has meant, the survival of the species…”  Parker Palmer, A Place Called Community, 1977

“Just as we could not live physically without each other, we cannot live spiritually in isolation.  We are individually free but also communally bound.  We cannot act without affecting others and others cannot act without affecting us.  We know ourselves as we are reflected in the faces, actions and attitudes of each other.”  - Janet Scott, What Canst Thou Say? 1980

I can’t quite believe it’s October. 

Historically I’ve been good at ignoring conflict between myself and those I’m close to.  Tonight I sat down and began a letter to work on something which has existed in silence for nearly eleven years.  The ending requires work and such letters are best seasoned with time, so I’ve set it down for the night but will finish it before the end of the week.  Tonight or no later than tomorrow, I need to make a telephone call to deal with something more recent.

I’m very much looking forward to Ba-da-Bingo this Thursday.  The theme is White Trash Halloween and we have three special guests coming, a bunch of bleeding eyeball candy and enough cheesy prizes to make people in a Midwest trailer park green with envy.  There is nothing like a good night of campy fun to make the world right again.  If you live in San Francisco, get off your butt and come join us.

03 October 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I’m really excited about Ba-da-Bingo tonight.  After three years of producing this event, there are nights when I’m certainly less excited about donning the habit and climbing on the stage.  I always recover my enthusiasm once I’m there, but sometimes getting myself out the door is a bit of a task.  Perhaps it’s like having sex with someone you’ve been with for awhile - it seems routine until things start to tingle.
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After a busy month of work and anxiety about managing clients, I can think of nothing I’d rather do than run around on a stage with a bunch of raving lunatics performing for an enthusiastic audience.  I’ve said it before, and you’ll hear me say it again:  I love being gay. 

Pop quiz:  What do Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Stevie Nicks, Stevie Ray Vaughn, a jazz orchestra, Donna Summer, Little Debbie Snack Marshmallow Pies, Honey Buns and Golden Cremes have in common?  Answer:  They’re all part of Ba-da-Bingo tonight.  I told you, I love being gay – a straight person would really have to work to get all those incorporated in say, a football game. 

On an entirely unrelated subject, if you are one of the three remaining people who believe the heavily made up talking heads on television, newspaper hacks and radio newsreaders are really journalists, then read this

My ability to produce thoroughly valueless tripe and mask it as journal entries may be unsurpassed.

03 October, Just Slightly Later

No, this isn't Sister Betty.  (Photo from Castro Street Fair, October 7, 2002)Tonight's theme is White Trash Halloween Bingo.  In celebration thereof, one of our bingo regulars sent me this link.

06 October 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Today marks the anniversary of my moving to San Francisco.  My life today hasn’t much in common with my life then.  San Francisco is different too.  I fell in love with San Francisco the first time I visited and it’s a love affair that has endured despite the change.  From time to time I flirt with other places, thinking of what exists in other cities and other countries.  Someday I may choose to live elsewhere, but San Francisco will always remain the city where I found my first home.

07 October 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

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

Before the Castro became a queer Mecca, it was a predominately Irish working class neighborhood.  A majority of the neighborhood attended mass at Most Holy Redeemer and nearly every other storefront on Castro Street was a bar.  In the 1970s, the low rents and incredible houses begging for decorators motivated queer people to move across the hill from the Haight Ashbury.  Today, the bars are clothing, dildo and card stores.
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Sometime in the last week, construction workers peeled away the outside wall of a building that served as a pharmacy during the height of the AIDS epidemic.  The exterior siding removed, the wall revealed a nearly intact sign for a previous tenant – a liquor store.

The windows of the former pharmacy are covered in paper.  It’s not clear what will fill the space.  I’m certain the old sign will soon be covered over once again, perhaps this time permanently. 

I enjoyed the unexpected reminder of the past.  It reminded me of all the people who’ve walked down these streets before me – those that I knew personally, and those I know only from history books and photographs. 

Once we surrender our desire to live forever, time becomes an amazing process, the cycle of renewal and surrender part of an intricate flow. 

There are some who believe we incarnate on earth as part of a lesson for our souls to carry through time.  Whether this is true or not, I cannot say.  What is clear is that the passing of time is an essential measure in so many of our experiences – love, growth, healing, learning – and that without it we would lose some essential element of what it is to be human.

09 October 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

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

I leave for Chicago in the morning, then on to Vancouver.  Chicago is primarily business, although I have enough free time to go looking for trains.  I haven’t been to Chicago since I was eleven or twelve and my aunt helped me get drunk for the first time in my life.  Aunt Mary was about the hippest aunt a queer kid could hope for.  Of course, her being a big dike helped a lot. 
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Vancouver is all about trains and I’ve conned five friends into joining me.  I’m becoming the railroad equivalent of a Mormon missionary.

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

It’s 4:30 PM and slit-your-wrists grey in Chicago.  This isn’t the San Francisco quaint landmark foggy grey.  This is hunker down in your red brick row house and think about your job on the assembly line grey.

I generally consider anywhere east of the Bay Bridge and west of New York City to be completely uninhabitable.  In my experience, American’s heartland consists primarily of tract housing, manufactured homes, single story strip malls and discarded appliances.  Conservative religions, gun-toting values and endless streams of high school, college and professional sports provide distraction from this otherwise dreary and pointless existence.  I grew up on the edge of a mobile home park in white trash Middle America.  I speak from experience.
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The last time I was in Chicago was twenty two years ago.  It was the largest city I’d ever seen and I couldn’t understand how all the people on the street knew I was from somewhere else.  Guys in leather jackets kept asking me if I wanted to buy gold chains.  I was amazed that our hotel had an indoor pool on the fifteenth floor.  My Aunt Mary was amazed I took the bus by myself through what she considered one of the most dangerous sections of town.  I was too naïve to notice.  While Mary and my father fought over dinner, Mary’s lover took me to Rush Street where I saw hookers for the first time in my life.  I’ve never seen another hotel with an indoor pool on an upper floor, but I’ve seen plenty of hookers since then.

Aunt Mary died nearly ten years ago, her lover moved to Arizona.  Tonight I’ll wander down to Rush Street and see if anyone offers to sell me gold chains.  Then I’ll head over to Boys Town and toast the memory of my hip lesbian aunt.

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

Chicago is a beautiful city.  Railroads, newspapers and merchants constructed buildings designed to impress and endure.  I wandered the streets today looking skyward and learned why they call it Shy Town:  it’s impossible to say all three syllables of the name while your teeth are chattering. 
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I watched a woman wrapped in aluminum foil wander down the street this morning.  I’ve encountered crystal meth addicts before, so I guessed it was protection from invisible people.  Then I saw more people wrapped in aluminum: groups of baked potatoes with legs wandering through Chicago (credit to Mister Sweeney for that line).  I ran into a potato in the elevator and discovered today was the 25th Anniversary of the Chicago Marathon and the aluminum foil serves as a windbreaker.   Another reason to avoid the Midwest:  the people here think it’s perfectly reasonable to run around wrapped up like leftovers when it’s 40 degrees outside.

14 October 2002 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I’ve spent more than an hour attempting to construct something – anything – worth both my time to write and your time to read.  This screen has been filled with lines and erased, filled and deleted, filled and scrapped.  I’ve consumed the better part of a bag of M&Ms during the attempt and now I feel slightly ill – both from the failure and the M&Ms. (Why must hotel mini-bars always be stocked with the giant size candy?)
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And so, acknowledging my complete failure as someone attempting to approximate what it means to be a writer, I surrender and simply provide random thoughts:

How wonderful to find the Teachings of Buddha in the same hotel room as the Gideon’s Holy Bible.  How disappointing to read some of the Teachings and realize they are not, at first blush, nearly as profound as I hoped them to be.  Buddhists might argue that my unenlightened state keeps me from realizing the profound nature of these writings.  They might be entirely correct and they might also be incorrect.  The Gideons, on the other hand, wouldn’t worry about my enlightenment because, after all, I’m a sinner.

Two sets of dumbbells and a treadmill do not a fitness center make.

I wonder, if given a choice, would people rather read a bible or consume beer from the well-stocked mini bar to sooth their existential questioning?  Perhaps the Gideons would be better off co-branding with a microbrewery.

Mindless action films are best when filled with handsome, shirtless men – just like this film I saw last night.

Thus, I have once again created an entry void of any substantive information, inspiring thoughts or beautiful sentences. 


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