almost done.

I'm wrapping up my Cleveland visit...it's been nice leaving my cellphone in my suitcase and not being anywhere near a computer with internet access. It's been quite grounding, and an eye-opening experience to be honest. Cleveland is actually a really cool place, with grounded, honest, beautiful, and most of all...real people living here. What you see is what you get...no bullshit, no facades. They tell it like it is to your face whether you like it or not, then will hand you a beer and light your cigarette.

I've got to hang out with some old friends here (but not all the ones I wanted to see), and I've met some incredible new people. It's renewed my faith in this city...smack in the middle of a blue county in a red state.

I've also realized just what "Dirty Cleveland" can mean. More on that later.

I'll write all about it when I get back to San Francisco...but right now, a winter storm is coming, a front is pushing through, and the rain outside has just turned into snow. I have to run down to my sister's place to change my clothes and get ready for my grandfather's birthday dinner.

Hopkins might be closed tomorrow morning due to snow; I might be staying here longer than I anticipated...we'll see.




This morning, my grandmother was buried at All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, Ohio. Bishop Pevec (former auxillary bishop of the Greater Cleveland Catholic Diocese), who was a personal friend of my grandmother's, said the funeral Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church in Wickliffe. Surprisingly, he even remembered my name after 21 years (he confirmed me back in 1984 when I was still in jr. high school). It was funny...I kind of ducked after I took communion, expecting a bolt of lightning to come zapping through the roof and strike me dead.

Even worse, I took communion from Bishop Pevec. I think I committed at least 15 sins right there, several of them mortal. Sigh...add them to the black marks already on my soul (what they used to tell me in CCD).

It was freezing cold (about 20 degrees), out at All Souls (but it should have been names Lost Souls...it's so far away from everything and so...barren); the casket was surrounded by dozens of family members and friends. The most poignant moment of the day was when my father laid a flower on his mother's casket...the look on his face will be burned into my memory forever; he was entering a new phase of his life...and my heart went out to him.

I love you, dad.

Afterward, the nuns of Our Lady of Mount Carmel put on a nice wake at the school building. Roasted chicken, scalloped potatoes, sliced roast beef, mixed vegetables, fresh dinner rolls, and Vernor's. I love that stuff...it's hard to find in California.

More later...I don't feel like writing much about it right now. I'm fine, it's cold as balls here, and I had absolutely no idea I had so many cousins. I mean, it's in the hundreds. I may be Slovak/Polish/Irish/German (but mostly Slovak), but I have a whole Italian branch of my family and my first cousin cousin Marguerite (one of the Italians) just adopted two infant girls from China.

I'm also convinced most of my family is wonderfully insane. I love them.

By the way, here is my grandmother's obituary.



ohio bound

photo courtesy St. Vincent Charity Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio

I'm packing up my things,
I'll soon be leaving.
I'm going to Polka Town!
It was there I met a girl one evening.
Now, I'm Ohio-bound!
Our wedding bells will ring out...in Cleveland!
That's the place where I intend to settle down.
So listen to the rhythm of the polka,
In Cleveland, the polka town!

- Frankie Yankovic

I'm off to Cleveland, Ohio...the City of Several Tall Buildings. It's a bit cooler there than it is here, which is to be expected. However, I'm actually looking forward to it. Seeing my old friends. Seeing my family. Visiting my Old Country.

I just have to get through the funeral.


I've got on my favorite black Paul Frank Skurvy t-shirt with the skull and crossbones over a gray thermal, my favorite pair of jeans, my hiking boots, my black Dickies jacket, my black knit cap, and my new bag. The best traveling outfit ever, especially for travel between the 415 and the 216.

You have no idea how glad I am it's a direct flight from SFO to Hopkins.

So...I'm ready. I've loaded Van Halen, Frankie Yankovic, Heart, and Whitesnake on my iPod. I'm working on talking out of my nose again with that yammering Cleveland accent (trust me, it'll be back). I'm looking forward to the West Side Market (it's in my sidebar...check out my Cleveland and Cleveland Heights links...you can be sure those are the places I'll be going when I'm there). I'm looking forward to Cotton Club soda pop. I'm looking forward to pierogies, real bagels (not the west coast crap they sell here...they're basically dinner rolls with vaginas), Bertman's Ball Park Mustard, Don Hermann & Sons dill pickles, Mrs. Weiss Kluski noodle soup, shopping at Marc's at Cedar Center, Mr. Hero Romanburgers, Grum's on Coventry, Mama Santa's Pizza in Little Italy, and of course, D'Vine down on West 9th. All my old favorites, and I'll drive to them in my mom's 1992 Lincoln Continental Executive Series Pimpmobile.

Awww yeah.

And you'd better believe I'm going to be tearing it up at the Grid. Look out, guys.

I'll be back in a few days.

cleveland, 1999 -- courtesy citizensvision.org



i've made it.

pabst, 2003 -- by chad

Someone has been anonymously posting links to my blog in Craigslist, and I feared backlash.

Well, it happened.

And I couldn't feel more validated.

Seems I've ruffled someone in Los Angeles. That's okay...I'd rather have someone read what I write and hate it then not read it at all. Besides, it had enough of an impsct on whoever posted that to actually go out of their way to rant about it on Craigslist.

Here's the post:

Rant: what a load of e-crap

Reply to: anon-60619629@craigslist.org
Date: 2005-02-20, 10:02PM PST

this guy is so full of himself. 90% of what he says is made-up, obviously. entertaining fiction, perhaps, but snap out of fantasy island pal.

hit this blog up and inflate the boy's need for attention.


it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests



Wow! I couldn't believe it when I read that...a bit annoyed, but mostly amused. Just for the record...a self-absorbed explanation:

Everything in this blog is true, 100%. I just describe things the way you would if you were watching a movie. In fact, when I write about an experience, it's like I'm watching a videotape of it in my mind, and I'm only dictating what happens. I decided a long time ago when I was in Catholic high school in Cleveland I wasn't going to have a boring, everyday life, and writing about it consistently keeps my brain sharp, and my sanity intact. Exercising your mind is just as important as going to the gym, and writing almost every day helps me keep my sanity, not to mention deal with things like, oh, the death of my grandmother and the pain of breaking up with someone you really fell hard for. As far as attention goes, this is just a website. I'm flattered so many people read this blog, but ultimately, it's for me and me only, and a healthy way to deal with the everyday stresses of life. Trust me, I've seen many people deal with stress the wrong way, and the end up like my tina-addicted friend. I walk down the streets an anonymous person, ordinary-looking, unnoticed like everyone else. I don't want any attention.

Although a complete stranger came up to me in the Castro at 18th and Collingwood this morning and said, "Are you Chad Fox?"

"Um, maybe," I said, taken off-guard.

"You have that gay blog, right?"

Oh great. A gay blog. I need to butch it up a bit in here. Apparently Stop Touching My Food has a sexual preference. "Yeah, I guess."

"I was at the party, and I finally put two and two together. I thought I recognized you. When I read about it on your blog, I knew that was you! I've been addicted to it for the past month now."

"Thanks," I said, self-conciously. I really needed coffee at that point.

It kinda freaked me out a bit; I'm actually really shy at first. After the freakiness, I was completely floored. Well, sidewalked.

Oh, you know what I mean.

Besides, I did the same thing to Bradford Shellhammer when I ran into him on Market Street early one morning about a month ago.

"Hey, are you Bradford Shellhammer?"

"Um, yeah." He looked a bit freaked out, and in need of coffee. But adorable as ever.

"Uh, thanks for linking me on your blog. I love reading it." I felt lunkish and awkward.

"No problem."

I felt like an ass and wanted to just vanish. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Anyway, don't ask why I was in the Castro this morning. It has something to do with the Navy boy. I'll blog about it later.

So anyway, thank you, Los Angeles Person Who Dislikes Me. Thank you for reading my e-crap, and pootzing about my blog on Los Angeles craigslist rants-n-raves. You have made my entire year. This photo is for you, from the Bay Area to the Southland, and I mean this in the warmest, friendliest way possible:

fuckyouchad, 2005 -- by chris a.

A bit of 'Frisco love for ya. From Oakland to SacTown, the Bay Area and back down, Cali is where they put they mack down.


Seems whoever posted that on Craigslist...deleted it.




crossing over

untitled, 2003 -- by chad

Normally my life is quite happy and relatively drama-free, except for problems my friends may be having. I'm usually the calm, stable one that people come to for guidance and comfort. Lately though, it seems everything has been unraveling for me, and when it rains, it pours. I knew something was up this morning when I opened up gmail and saw this message from Chris A.:

Chad - URGENT!

Call your parents ASAP.

Deep down, I knew what had happened. I got the same feeling back in 1999, when I was in the middle of the California AIDS Ride, when a team-mate handed me his cellphone and said, "You need to call home right now." Turned out my grandmother, Mimi, had died and I had to leave in the middle of the ride...I had 24 hours to get from Lompoc, California, to Cleveland, Ohio. And I had to somehow get to San Francisco first.

But that's another story for another day. It involves trains, planes, Greyhound buses, breaking into my old Haight/Ashbury apartment, an unsupportive ex-boyfriend, and sunburned retinas. I kinda don't want to think about it.

So after reading that message from Chris A., I picked up my cellphone, where I saw I had 8 new messages, 14 missed calls (I had my ringer off, and I slept in this morning), all from my mom, dad, and sisters. When something goes down in my family, and one of us can't be contacted immediately, they'll start calling my friends (mom insisted on Michael B. and Chris A.'s phone numbers). I knew what was coming next, and my call to my folks in Cleveland confirmed my fears.

This morning, my last remaining grandmother passed away at the age of ninety-eight and a half.

She had been ill for a while, but she was a tough old Slovak bird, and had hung on until the end. She didn't get sick until she was 98, then her memory started failing, and her body started shutting down.

She had been suffering lately, and I knew the moment was near...it was one of the things that has been adding to my stress lately, and making me a bit more emotionally-charged than usual. I mean, I've been through a lot in the past 2 weeks: I was incredibly sick, then broke up with Chris F., then more bad news about another friend of mine, got a sinus infection which is making my head throb right now, knowing my grandmother was in the hospital, suffering, and how my father was probably hurting inside but not being outwardly obvious about it. It was all starting to pile up on me, and trying to keep my sense of humor about everything got increasingly difficult.

It started earlier this week when I got this message from my mom the day after Valentine's Day:

...Gram is slowly failing. The nursing home called dad on Sunday night to say she had taken a turn for the worse. However, when Dad went to see her yesterday, she seemed to be resting comfortably. She was sleeping and I'm not sure she knew he was there.

I have a favor to ask. Can you write something about Gram - something affectionate, and yet it could be funny, something that Dad would appreciate and something you could read at her funeral - not necessarily a eulogy, but it could be...

I started thinking about what I'd write for her...not wanting to do it before she died, but definitely started outlining something. Suddenly, a memory surfaced that I hadn't thought about in years and years, and made me laugh.

It was back in the summer of 1983. My sisters and I were staying at my grandmother's house out in then-rural but now suburbia Wickliffe, Ohio (pronouced wick-liff, not why-cliffie as some people tend to do). My parents had gone out of town for the weekend, so off to Gram's we went. She wasn't used to having kids around, so there wasn't any milk. Gram took some powdered non-dairy creamer, added some water, and poured it on my sisters' cereal.

Done. Problem solved (in her eyes). My 7 and 10 year-old sisters were horrified. Seeing this, I elected to eat mine dry (and continue to do so to this day).

She was Slovak, and proud of it, but never bragged. Her house, always spotless and neat as a pin, was filled with pictures and tchotchkies (the electric statue of Mary and the 3D Jesus in a brass frame stand out in my memory especially), and she was always - ALWAYS - baking. There's an old Slovak proverb, "Láska ide cez žalúdok." The literal translation is "Love goes through the stomach." Gram showed us the love. Her kitchen was filled with cookies and pastries she had baked, especially her patitza poppy seed roll. She'd make a garlic and leek potato soup and of course, my very, very favorite thing in the entire world: Halupki.

Good, good 'eatin. We'd always be full, but rather gassy.

On sunday, we went to mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church in Wickliffe. I learned the hard way Gram didn't think talking in church was appropriate, because when I leaned over to whisper something to my sister, Gram discreetly, but forcefully cracked me on the face and ear with her hand with deadly Slovak accuracy.

Point made, Gram. Ow.

After mass, we piled into her avocado-green 1969 Plymouth Duster and started driving back to her house. The old 1420 WHK was booming away on the AM radio, which at the time was an obnoxious country station with an even more obnoxious DJ named Gary Dee. I asked if I could change the station, and Gram said, "Sure."

I switched it to 1100 WWWE (3WE for you Clevelanders over 30), which was playing "Every Step You Take" by the Police on The American Top 40 with Kasey Kasem. I settled down into the avocado green vinyl seat, and started singing along.

"What the hell is this crapola?" exclaimed Gram.

"The Police," I replied.

"The Police? Where?" Gram panicked and slammed on the brakes. Now, keep in mind this was a 1969 Duster and didn't have regular seatbelts in the front, only lap belts (I wasn't wearing mine...it was 1983), and the ones in the back had fallen behind the seat years ago. So none of us were belted in when the car came to a screeching halt in the middle of Euclid Avenue.

I cracked my head against that metal Duster dashboard (apparently, safety wasn't an issue in 1969), and my sisters went flying off the vinyl back seat into the back of the bench front seat, and my youngest sister landed on the floor of the backseat with a thud. Rubbing my head, I peered over the seat into the back to see if my sisters were all right. We were all a bit dazed and confused, but seemingly okay. We all kinda rolled our eyes.

"Ya gotta hold on!" Gram said.

I put the radio back to WHK. We drove in dazed silence after that, save for the voice of Marty Robbins crooning out of the center speaker in the middle of the dashboard.

I hadn't thought about that in years. It made me smile, and I'm going to keep in mind when I write her eulogy later. I'll have to get a bottle of her favorite liquor, DeKuyper Blackberry Brandy (Gram always referred to it as "the good stuff"), and mix it with ginger ale like she did as I write her eulogy.

I'll call it a Helen, after my grandmother. And you'd better believe I'll always use the good stuff. Life is way too short and precious not to do so.

I'm gonna miss you, Gram. Milujem t'a, baba.

Now I have to get ready to go to Cleveland. I'm going to just put the events of the past few weeks behind me now, and focus on being with my family.

Like Lily Tomlin said in the movie Nine to Five, "I'm a tree...I can bend."





I just checked my hit counter, and it seems I am getting tons and tons of hits from this craigslist post. Now, I know better than to promote a blog on the San Francisco rants-n-raves section on craigslist...I know someone who did it, and they got tons of hate mail from the rants-n-raves crowd. I'm scared of you people!


So please...don't trash my blog. I have no idea who posted that, so please don't be evil. I'm a really nice person, kind of an idiot sometimes, and I've just had a really shitty week, so please...show me some love.

And as far as the picture of me on that CL post goes, it's referring to this post from a week ago tonight. So if you just want to know why that chick is about to lick my nipple, then just go directly there. If you want to say something nice, please go ahead. If you think I suck ass, please just send me an email directly telling me so. If you are feeling violent and wish to do me bodily harm, please click here and be saved.

I feel like I need to hide. Here...here's a funny picture of Bullwinkle I took off my TV. Everypne loves Bullwinkle! He makes you happy!

Just don't hurt me.


an evening, divided

Those are my friends Drew and Matty. You may know Matty better as Renttecca, who is actually a major celebrity in Dublin, Ireland, and here in San Francisco. I met Matty 9 years ago on an Amtrak train while traveling between Sacramento and Oakland when I was still in the Air Force. Matty is probably one of the scariest, filthiest drag queens I've ever seen in my entire life. Try this: pulling blue anal beads out of your ass while lip-synching to "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" by Crystal Gale, or having someone pee on you while synching "I'm Only Happy When It Rains" by Garbage. Sick, sick shit.

No, really. You should check out the galleries at his website. I'm his biggest fan. Here's my favorite picture of him, ever:

I've known Drew(py) for at least 5 years now, and I've always harbored a secret crush on him since the day we met at the corner of Castro and Market back in the spring of 2000. He's intelligent off the charts, an excellent cook, has a sick, sick sense of humor, was raised in Manhattan, and is probably one of the coolest people I know. He invited me over to his house in the Castro tonight for a going-away dinner he was making, since he's deciding to do the bi-coastal thing and live in San Francisco and New York. This was the e-mail I got earlier:

Hey guys,

The shopping is done and I have tonight’s meal planned. If any of you would like to bring some wine to compliment the meal.. here is le menu:

Baguette with French Raclette cheese

Chaudree de Saumon avec saumon sauvage de la cote ouest du Canada (Salmon Chowder)

Ham and Gruyere stuffed chicken breast, rolled in French pastry dough, served with Grilled Asparagus and Roasted mushroom salad… topped with Red Chile Mustard Vinaigrette.

Surprise a la Rick James.

See you tonight,

I was so there...I hadn't hung out with those boys in forever...the last time we did, a video was shot from the webcam off the top of Drew's computer, and history was made. We watched it, actually. I was horrified, as I don't remember half the shit I did or said on that video. No sex per se, but just a lot of un-pc humor, various stages of nudity, and Irish guy so drunk you could barely understand him (it sounds like an X-rated Lucky Charms commercial at one point...yeah that's you, Allen). This video will never, ever be shown anywhere except Drew's computer when we all get together. It all boils down to this: Ass, dry-humping, foreskin farts, and "Do mama a favor. Shut the door." Drew sent me a still shot of Matty and yours truly laughing hysterically with Alan's ass (not Allan from Ireland, Alan from Georgia) up in the air between us. It was a bunch of friends, having a good time, laughing hysterically for over 20 minutes while doing unspeakable things, and nothing more. It's done, it's over, it's in the past.

And I'm not saying another word about that video. Oh, and thanks a fucking lot, Drew, for shooting the damn thing. Bitch you know you gonna get cut for that.

Phatima, also known as the Retarded Panda, was there as well. Phatima is always good for surreal dinner conversation. Phatima spoke of a childhood in a Minnesota mental hospital, justified wearing a tube top, miniskirt, saran wrap, and boots to Safeway, and reminisced about the time she squirted me in the face with a colostomy bag filled with Bushmill's whiskey at Trannyshack about 6 years ago.

You know, the usual filthy dinner table banter.

Drew's dinner was nothing short of ambrosial...absolutely incredible...and was probably one of the best meals I've had in months. We laughed until we cried, Phatima gave us some of the craziest Humboldt county ganja I've ever had, grown by a friend of hers, and simply enjoyed each other's company.

The evening finally came to a close; I bid everyone goodbye, and walked through the Castro. From here, the evening took on a decidedly different cast.

divided, 2004 -- by chad

On my way home, I had to stop by Chris F.'s house to pick up some personal items I left there. It was late, and Chris wanted to go to bed. I hopped into a cab, and rode over to his house, where he was to meet me out front. On the way, my buoyant mood started sinking, as I looked out the rain-flecked windows at the streets of Chris's neighborhood. My mind was wandering through memories of the times we'd ride home together in taxicabs after a fun night, on this very route, holding hands, leaning against each other, looking forward to falling asleep next to each other in a matter of minutes. The lighthearted feelings from the previous few hours quickly evaporated, and shortly thereafter, the cab pulled up in front of Chris's house.

He was standing there, smoking a cigarette, and looking a little different than I remembered. I couldn't put my finger on it, but he looked a little harder. Edgier. Angrier. Deadpan. He took a drag off his cigarette and gave me my things.

"Here, and here's your DVD." He handed me a copy of "Amadeus" that we had been watching only a few weeks ago, curled up together in his bed.

"Thanks," I replied, a lump forming in my throat. "How are you?"

"Tired. Going to bed. Good night." He leaned over, and kissed me on the lips, which caused a burning sensation in my chest to quickly travel up my throat, and down my legs. Perhaps it was adrenaline, but it felt like liquid fire was coursing through my veins. The lump in my throat hardened a bit.

"Goodbye," I finally said.

"Bye." He turned around, took a drag off his cigarette, and walked away. I got in the cab, and we drove off, and I watched Chris close his front door. Driving back down the hill was a little stranger, as I usually walked down this hill with him in the morning, and I wasn't used to seeing it in a cab at night. Down and down we went, and through the raindrops on the windows, sparkling like diamonds as they caught the harsh rays of the streetlights, I watched the neighborhood rush by outside.

My original plan was for the cabbie to just take me back to North Beach, but when we got to Market and 7th, I said, "Please, stop here." Tears were starting to form in my eyes, and I just wanted OUT of that cab, and for my feet to be firmly planted on the grimy brick sidewalks of Market Street. He pulled over, I paid him, and got out. I figured I'd just take the subway to Montgomery station and walk home from there. I had the entire train to myself, and when I exited Montgomery, I savored the cool, damp night air that met me as I ascended from the station. I also did something I've never done before...I actually used the escalator instead of the stairs.

My friends won't believe it if they had seen it; I'm the biggest stair nazi there is. Escalators are stupid unless you're carrying a bunch of luggage at the airport. Other than that, if you have legs that are capable of carrying you up a flight of stairs, for fuck's sake use them or lose them, and get off the goddamn escalator already. /rant

I had my iPod with me, and put it on shuffle. Wouldn't you know it, "Missing You" by Diana Ross came on. I knew my resolve to not fall apart was quickly disappearing. I shuffled down Montgomery Street hunched under my umbrella, blinking back the tears that were really starting to form in my eyes. I couldn't deal with the song, so I hit the wheel to forward to the next song.

It was "Sweet Baby" by Stanley Clarke and George Duke. It's on a playlist I made called "Smoothbooty" consisting of slow-jam R&B from the 60's, 70's, and early 80' intended for the two of us to listen to while lying on the floor together in front of my fireplace. It was used only once. There are over 1500 songs on that fucking thing. Out of all the industrial, rock, classical, jazz, blues, dance, or ANY other genre on that damn thing, it had to pick that particular song. Lacking the resolve to stop it, I continued walking, listening to the lyrics:

Lyin' here alone I'm dreamin'
My mind keeps wonderin', my thoughts are only you
Wandering through the memories in my mind.
How could love so real have turned so empty, I just keep wonderin' why
Will I ever find the love we shared together, you and I?

Finally, I stopped. "Enough is enough," I mumbled to myself.

The pain inside me at that moment was quite real, and downright searing. Somehow though, it was comforting. Comforting in the fact that this was the way I was supposed to feel. Life isn't about being happy ALL the time. If it was, how the hell are you supposed to enjoy the really awesome times of your life? These emotions are natural, and what make us human. This is what living a full, rich life is all about! Artists, musicians, and writers from all over the world are familiar with this...this stabbing pain that's so horrible yet incredibly beautiful at the same time. It's what inspires people to write love songs, or poems, or create incredibly profound works of art. You just can't fight it sometimes, because you can't deny what's a part of every single one of us...one of the very elements of our human nature.

Fuck it...I decided to embrace it.

I was at the corner of Montgomery and California, and for the most part had the entire Financial District to myself. At this time of night, it's virtually abandoned, save for the occasional cable car rumbling by or the speeding cabs filled with intoxicated North Beach revelers. I lowered my umbrella, closed it, and raised my face skyward...letting the raindrops fall where they were supposed to. It tingled in the cool, soft rain, and I savored this very painful, rather difficult, yet quite profound and evolving moment in my life. The sensation slowly changed...from the agonizing inferno consuming my heart, to something not unlike the pain you felt when you had a loose tooth as a kid. It hurt, but it wasn't exactly unpleasant. It meant you were going to lose something that had significance to you in the past, but outgrew and didn't need anymore. It had to make room for something new, and stronger, and more permanent.

In the middle of downtown, I stood there alone...an anonymous person on a rainy San Francisco night.

And finally, softly, gently, I let myself cry.



a life lesson learned - 2005 style

untitled, 2004 -- by chad

Title: What I Learned Today

By: Chad Fox

Age: 34...old enough to know better than to do this.

Dear Me,

Unless you're absolutely sure what you read isn't going to completely make you lose your shit, never, and I repeat, NEVER, read a certain someone's blog when you are extremely depressed, have a stomachache, haven't slept well for days, and aren't thinking very clearly.

Furthermore, DO NOT attempt to express your emotionally-charged feelings about him OR his blog via e-mail, whether or not they're valid. Better yet, simply compose it in Word. That way you can delete it, and you don't come off as a shrieking, irrational homosexual. You KNOW you can't unsend e-mail to someone once it leaves your computer unless you're both on AOL.

Because as we all know...it will always end very, very badly.


Fuck it. You live, you learn.

You move on.

Tell ya what, though...it was a hell of a rant. And for some reason, I feel like a big chunk of my stress has been hosed out of my chest. Maybe it had some purpose after all...I just wish I had sent it to myself.

These things happen, I guess.

Love, Me



feeling the love

untitled, 2004 -- by chad

I had my computer powered down most of the day today - obvious reasons, topic already covered. When I finally checked my mail, I was really surprised to find a lot of e-mails bearing kudos and Valentine's Day greetings from not only friends, but people I didn't know from all around the world.

So I just want to say thanks to everyone, and you have no idea how much better you made this person in San Francisco feel.

Carl and Will and Byron, your e-mails made me misty. Nate, love you too. I always will. Kristofer123, he's not my boyfriend anymore but you can come over and rip my underwear if you want. I have a pair of his we can tear up...and thanks for the butt pic. That was sweet. Kiks, your e-mail stopped make me feel misty and made me smile. Joey, we can vaporize later this week and you can call me a lesbian as much as you want. Pet Amber for me and tell her Uncle Chad misses her.

Finally...I went down to my mailbox, where I found my one and only valentine I got this year...from my mom. Standing there, on the front stoop, the tears finally fell...and I felt loved.

Thanks, mom. I knew you wouldn't forget. Love you and miss you, too.

Oh, now I'm all vahklempt. I need a moment...talk amongst yourselves!

Here's a topic: Why the hell does the 14 Mission always smell like shu-shu?



a very special memory...for valentine's day

cracked & expired, 2003 -- by chad

I woke up this morning a few minutes before KGO started blaring out of my clock radio. I've been listening to that station in the morning lately, simply because it's annoyingly repetitive, with lots of annoying commercials, and of course, traffic and weather every ten minutes. Their "Kaaay Geeee Ohhhh...News-talk Eight-Tennnnnn" jingle is sufficient enough to prod me out of bed for my morning shu-shu so I can start my day (if you're wondering what a "shu-shu" is, I'll explain later in this post). In my groggy state, right before getting up I instinctively reached over to say good morning and kiss...the empty spot in my bed next to me. Cobwebs clearing and reality setting in, I rolled onto my back and sighed.


Suddenly, I remembered it was Valentines Day.


I got out of bed, cursed myself for falling asleep in my contact lenses, and tried navigate my way to the bedroom door. After stubbing my toe on my dresser en route to the bathroom (triplefuck), I came to the conclusion I didn't want to speak to - or see - anybody, at all, for the entire day. I turned off my phone, made some green tea, and wrapped myself in total, blissful, therapeutic isolation. Some serious thinking, meditation, and soul-searching was in order, and I didn't feel like talking about anything to my friends. Besides, they've heard enough of that already, and I just get tired of kvetching sometimes.

That's what blogs are for, right?

Adding to my general malaise was the rainy weather, which validated my decision not to leave the house and work on one of the websites I'm building for my friend Gioioa's hypnotherapy practice. Leftover stir-fry for breakfast soon proved to be a mistake, which was announced by the uncomfortable rumbling that began deep in my abdomen, followed by sharp pains in my stomach.

Fuck me gently with a chainsaw, I just should have stayed in bed.

When down and out, writing and photography keep me focused and level-headed on the bumpy and often widly unpredictable road of life. Not only that, they help me keep my sense of humor when I just don't feel like laughing, and grateful when things DO go well for me every now and then. Vowing not to let any of this get me down, I grabbed a fountain pen and some looseleaf notebook paper, and decided to write a Valentine's Day essay. This salmonella-intensified rant shortly followed:

How I Feel About Valentine's Day

by Chad Fox

Fuck this shit.

I put the pen down, studied it for a minute, and decided it was done; it was about as succinct as I could possibly be.

However, in honor of Valentine's day, I'll express how I currently feel about this holiday by sharing with everyone an intimate part of my childhood.

It'll tie it all together. Trust me on this.

At this time, you're probably curious as to what a "shu-shu" is. When I was a kid, I used to call urinating "ta-ta" and defecation "pootz." I have no idea why, but it worked for me back in the early seventies until around 1997 or so, when my mom took me aside and said, "Chad, you're 27. You don't need to announce it anymore."

One sunny morning when I was about 6, I randomly asked my mother, as she stood at the kitchen sink, what she called ta-ta when she was a kid. You see, I was always full of these bizarre, random questions, and my mom eventually learned to just answer them and not ask why...it was just easier that way.

"Um, shu-shu. Aunt Sharon and I called it shu-shu," said my mom.

"Why did you call it shu-shu?" I asked, starting to smirk, yet utterly puzzled as to what the hell that could have meant.

"That's the sound it made when it came out."

I pondered for a second, decided it made perfect sense, and started to giggle; I had heard the shu-shu noise many times before from behind the bathroom door. Of course, I had made a mental note: "This is what it sounds like when girls go ta-ta out their gaginas." It's was definitely different, and somewhat scary. All I knew is my penie didn't make that odd hissing noise when I ta-ta'd.

I pressed on. "What about pootz?"

"We called that ka-ka."

I fell on the kitchen floor laughing. Ka-ka! Tee-hee-hee! What a funny word! Nothing made me laugh like a little poop talk. Hell, it still does. I almost shu-shued in my pants in a Spencer Gifts at Serramonte Shopping Center about 5 years ago because some kid kept following me around with a whoopie cushion. He kept making the pootz noises, and I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. It was just so funny...who knows why. Goddamn kid. I laughed even harder when his mom smacked him on the ass and started shouting at him in Tagalog. It's also one of the reasons why I prefer Serramonte to any other mall. You just don't see stuff like that at Stonestown.

I digress, enough of that crap. Back to 1976:

"Ka-ka! I like that!" I said, still laughing.

"I know you do, honey." The unspoken words that followed were, "God love ya." That's the midwestern version of "Bless your heart," like they say in the south when they really think you're a complete tard.

"Did Uncle Tom call it ka-ka too?" I giggled. Ka-ka too. This was some funny-ass shit.

"No, actually," my mom suddenly remembered, "your uncle Tom called it "lu-lu" and "vissie" but Aunt Sharon and I thought that was too babyish."

Now, this was just too much. I laughed so hard a fart escaped from my behind, which only made me laugh - and fart - even louder and harder. My mom started laughing too, (presumably with her little tard and not at me) and yet another happy, poop-humor, Cleveland Heights childhood memory was formed.

Years later, I was thinking about this particular exchange, and decided that the names my mother, my uncle, and I used to describe our bathroom activities sounded a lot like they could be the names of three old Coupe deVille driving, blue-haired couples from South Euclid, Ohio, who live in condos on some cul-de-sac in Coral Gables, Florida.

You know, Pootz and Tata Lieberman, Kaka and Shushu Levine, and of course, Lulu and Vissie Castorini, who moved up from Murray Hill 55 years ago. A bunch of old Cuyahoga County farts in Florida. Talking about their ailments, waxy yellow buildup, constipation, and what they saw on The Oprah that day.

So there you have it. Morning heartache. Toe-stubbing. Salmonella. Ka-ka. Shu-shu. Poop humor. Farting. Ailments. Constipation. Oprah. Valentine's Day. Told ya I'd tie it all together, and I even got to make fun of South Euclid. People from Cleveland Heights are allowed to do that, much to the chagrin of the South Euclideans (a little lame northeast Ohio HTML humor).

Moral of the story: Valentines Day, in my opinion, is a stupid bowl of shitballs in pissbroth. That may change at some point, but for now, that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. But do you want to know the best thing about all of this?

Writing all of this poopykakapeepee talk just gave me my first smile of the day. Maybe, just maybe...it won't be my last. And that...is what this blog is for. Not only a place to personally rant, but also for making me smile when I just don't fucking feel like it sometimes.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. May your pootz, ta-ta, ka-ka, and shu-shu all bring you joy...and regularity.

Always remember: You become pretty when you draw near love. That's actually one of the most profound things I've ever heard.

(illustration courtesy engrish.com)



straight people, unsupervised

I was walking down Folsom Street on my way to Rehab when I ran across a rowdy bunch of folks standing a few doors down from Julie's. An attractive woman in her 20's walked up to me with a bloody mary in her hand, and gave it to me without a word...just a kiss on my cheek.

Then her [straight] friends started chanting some sort of nonsense, and I figured I'd audioblog it. Utter insanity.

But it was fun...and provided a good, hearty laugh I desperately needed at that moment.

This, if anything, shows why straight people should be supervised at all times. Click at your own risk...I didn't realize how loud it was until I listened to it on someone else's computer...sorry 'bout that, Joe.

this is an audio post - click to play

Rehab was fun, I saw more old friends I haven't seen in a while, and ones I should see more often. I'm kinda sad this was the last one, but I know Ryan and Marcia will come up with something interesting.

Also, I finally got to hang out with Camper English, someone I've admired for over 6 years now. He's the instigator of the infamous cocktail clique, something you should do if you haven't done it already. Camper's awesome...we should have hung out a long time ago. If you haven't done so already, pick up this month's issue of San Francisco Magazine and read the cover article by Camper, 101 Hot Nights.

Good 'readin.



Boy, what a weekend. And it's not over yet. I'm on my way to Rehab at Julie's Supper Club down on Folsom.

It'll be nice to get out of my practically-in-Chinatown neighborhood, which has been like living in a bowl of rice krispies lately...constant snap, crackle, and pop from young Chinese kids setting off firecrackers in celebration of the Chinese new year. Now, I can handle the occasional pop, snap, or bang. That's fine. It's the fucking M-80's that irritate me and completely shatter any train of thought I might be experiencing. Nothing like sitting at my computer, thinking, about to write something, when suddenly there's a "KA-BOOM!!!" right outside my bedroom window.


So off I go to Julie's. I can't wait to see Marcia, Darwin, and Ryan. Hopefully Rob will be there, too. And if I'm lucky, I'll get to see Darwin like this:

Gotta love Darwin. I was actually standing next to him when that photo was taken.

On a side note, a random search for a photo revealed to me I've been included in the "Feeling Sexy" category at The Mirror Project. I submitted the photos, but not for that category.

Guess someone else thinks I'm feeling sexy.

So, as Candyman once said, gonna break off a bottle of Asti Spumanti, pop off the top, and rock with my posse.

See you at Rehab. :-)



change of plans

Well, I had plans tonight, but guess what?

They've changed.

So now, I have a lot of free time I set aside for someone else, who decided he's tired and not showing up. Guess I'll have to find something else to do. Maybe go out and do this:

And hang out with some trannies like this:

And this:

And dance around a little like this:

But not drink too much of this:

Or this:

Because then I start doing things like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

I'll begin doing this:

End up feeling like this:

And turn out like this:

And you wouldn't want that now, would you?

Okay...I have to go. I've got my "dirtywhiteboy" t-shirt on. I want to see my friends. I want to dance. The night is young.

And San Francisco awaits. :-)



despondent, 2003 -- by chad

(this post was originally composed December 14, 2004.)

The one drug I absolutely do not tolerate is crystal meth. In fact, I have thrown two people out of my apartment for having it, not only ushering them out my door, but down the stairs to the front door, past the gate, making sure they were completely out of my building. It has destroyed so many lives, and once you get hooked, it's excruciatingly difficult to escape from its grasp. It's said the relapse rate is 94 percent.

Yeah, you read that right. Ninety fucking four percent.

It's Satan in chemical form, and rots your soul along with your body. Once Tina gets inside your head, that fucking bitch will whisper to you in moments of weakness, scream inside your head on occasion, and will be with you forever.

As I write this, I am fighting back tears, and have been doing so for over an hour. Early this afternoon, right after finishing lunch, I ran into an old friend of mine at the corner of Broadway and Van Ness. He saw me first and quickly started walking the other way, but I recognized him after a few seconds and called out his name.

He is a 26 year-old crystal meth addict. I was told he died in a residence hotel over a year ago (from several sources, actually), so I was quite startled to see him. At first, I thought I was experiencing some sort of Twilight Zone thing and was seeing a ghost.

The last time I saw Edward was over a year and a half ago, when he showed up at my front door completely unannounced one sunny afternoon at my old flat on Jackson Street in Russian Hill. He appeared to be malnourished, and his clothes were literally hanging off of him. His appearance was startling compared to how he looked only a few months before...he had lost approximately 40 pounds (he's only 5'9" or so) and he looked absolutely sick. He told me he had an ingrown hair in his armpit, and wondered if I knew what to do about it. I wasn't prepared for what followed.

When he lifted his shirt, the entire area under his right arm was caked with dried blood and chunks of pus. When he lifted his arm, there was a golf ball-sized tumor in his armpit, oozing more blood and what appeared to be bloody cottage cheese. A pungent odor...the smell of rot and death...hit me, and I had to choke back a wall of vomit that almost burst forth from my lips. Apparently, he thought it was a pimple or ingrown hair, and had been stabbing it with a dirty hypodermic syringe, hoping he'd just pop it. Instead, a staph infection had set in, and his arm was jaundiced and swollen, the skin taut and shiny. It was amazing...I had never seen anything like it in my life, except maybe National Geographic.

He was in complete agony.

Horrified, I went into mechanical mode...I do that when I have to set aside my emotions and need to do something quickly and effectively. It's what I do when I witness a car accident, or there is some sort of disaster going on around me. Everyone else is freaking out, and I'll be the solitary calm, focused person in the midst of chaos. Hey, when everyone else is losing their shit SOMEONE has to take care of them. I firmly made him remove his shirt and jacket, which I promptly threw in a garbage bag after donning my yellow dishwashing gloves. I tried to clean him up best I could with a warm washcloth, gave him a clean t-shirt, and promptly put him in a cab; I instructed the driver to take him to the hospital REGARDLESS of where Edward told him to go. Of course, the driver showed back up at my place 20 minutes later, screaming at me, saying Edward had just jumped out of the cab in the middle of the Tenderloin and dashed into a residence hotel, keeping the cab fare I had given him (big mistake...I should have just given it to the driver). The driver demanded money from me, and to remain in good standing with Veterans Cab Company, I gave him a $20 bill for his troubles. Hey, he had to eat too.

I hadn't heard from or seen Edward since then, and assumed he had died.

lost lost lost, 2004 -- by chad

So today, after calling out his name, he stopped, turned around, and stared at me with these hollow, haunted eyes. If you can believe it, he looked even worse than he did a year and a half ago. His once beautiful face was sallow and pockmarked. His big brown eyes, once sparkling with life and intelligence, were glazed and lifeless, yet quite doleful; they appeared to have sunken into their sockets, and had dark brown circles underneath them. Half his teeth were gone, and the ones remaining looked brittle and cracked. His black hair was matted and greasy and filled with large flakes of dandruff. I'm 34 years old, he's 26, and yet he looked at least a decade and a half older than me.

He must have seen the shocked expression on my face, because he walked up and hugged me. When I squeezed him, I felt like I was embracing a skeleton wrapped in a few blankets and sweaters, and I heard a few of his bones crack a little. Maybe I hugged him a little too hard, because he started wheezing and coughing a bit, then hugged me again, and didn't let go.

"Hey guy," I said gently.

"Hi," he replied, still holding me tightly, his face pressed against mine.

"Still around, huh?"

"Yeah, I've had pneumonia, though."

"I heard you died."

He tried to muster a chuckle, but couldn't quite produce one. I heard the air whooshing in and out of his lungs as he gasped for breath...his death rattle. "Yeah, I actually did die for about 10 minutes, but they brought me back, unfortunately."

We talked for a few minutes like this, me holding him on the busy street corner while he kept his face firmly planted against mine with his arms wrapped tightly around me. He hadn't been to a doctor in months, and I knew his HIV infection was absolutely ravaging what was left of his immune system. I was the last person who ever tried to help him...I took him out to lunch once, and he told me about his neighbors in his residence hotel spying on him, setting up little microphones around his room, and boring holes in the ceiling to spy on him with fiberoptic surveillance cameras. He told me how he was arrested and thrown in jail, and I knew then there was nothing further I could do, other than calling him every now and then to make sure he wasn't dead. The drug had taken over his mind, and paranoia set in. Soon, his cellphone number was disconnected, and I didn't hear from him again. I've tried to help him on several occasions...gave him information on some treatment resources, kept him fed, given him medicine, but unfortunately, he doesn't want help. You cannot force someone into treatment, and you cannot save someone who ultimately wants to die. I've done absolutely everything I can, and no matter how much I want to be, I'm not God, I'm not Superman, and I'm definitely not a guardian angel.

"Edward, I have to go," I finally said.

"I know." He stood back and looked at me with those huge doe-like eyes of his, now brimming with tears. I looked into his face, which looked little more than a death mask hanging off his skull. It was the face of a dying man who had completely lost hope...a once robust, beautiful man who was a gifted concert pianist and talented artist with a promising future. It was the face of a man who realizes he is doomed, and that haunting image will be burned in my mind, forever.

His breathing became labored, the rattle coming from his chest becoming more pronounced. He started coughing; it wasn't the kind of cough someone has when they have a cold, or choke on something. It was one of those deep, diseased coughs...the kind that generally precedes a life-threatening illness, and ultimately, death. After he regained his breath, he looked up at me and said, "I've gotta go now too. What's your phone number?"

I told him, knowing full well he wouldn't call.

"I'll call you in an hour," he tried to convince himself.

"Goodbye, Edward," I managed to say, blinking away tears. I fully realized at that point I'd probably never seem him again. As I looked at him, looking past his ragged, damaged face into the eyes of the tortured soul standing before me, a tear rolled down his cheek.

He hugged me one last time, and turned away from me. Sobbing quietly, he walked down Van Ness Avenue towards San Francisco Bay.



lattes and rental cars

tourist, 2003 -- by chad

Just a quick FYI about that picture...I anonymously snapped that photo, from my "Ordinary Day in San Francisco" series, while having a latte in Caffe Trieste here in North Beach one sunny afternoon over a year ago. I had been eavesdropping on that woman's conversation with her friend (another attractive and well-dressed and accessorized woman about her age), who was sitting across from her, gleaning some basic information about them in the 20 or so minutes they were sitting there. I was quite taken with them...not only were they well-dressed, they had smart little overnight cases with them, and appeared to be seasoned travelers (always, ALWAYS appreciated by us locals). They had flown up here for the day from Los Angeles, taken BART from the airport, and planned on staying a night at the Commodore Hotel near Union Square. They had not rented a car, instead opting to explore the city on foot, and of course, do some shopping in Union Square, the Upper Fillmore, and of course, Union Street. They were definitely not your average mall rats and just so, so cute...I almost wanted to tag along with them and hang out. I'm usually pretty good at remembering snippets of conversation, and theirs went something like this:

Woman in picture: You know, Carol...we should have done this a long time ago.
Unseen friend: I know. You deserve it. We deserve it. After everything you've been through...
Woman in picture: I know, I know. Don't talk about it, I want to enjoy myself. Besides, I've been working way too much and forgetting the things that make me happy. I love this city...it's so beautiful...magical. Sometimes I just think of saying "screw it all" and getting the hell out of there and just moving up here. [sips latte, savors it, sets it down on the table] You know what?
Unseen friend: What?
Woman in picture: I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be with right now, than right here, in this cafe, in the beautiful city, with you...my best friend.
Unseen friend: Oh, Barbara, you're going to make me cry! [both started laughing]

(Note: In response to a question asked by several people over the past 24 hours via e-mail, yes, that's an absolutely true story. That's not their entire conversation, just a snippet after they talked for awhile about everyday stuff, such as shopping, tampons, and croissants. For real. That particular part of the conversation stood out to me, and I almost had to check twice to make sure they weren't reading off of a script or something. But yeah, that's a true story, and I didn't fabricate any of that.)

At this point, *I* almost started sobbing and half-expected someone to start singing, "Celebrate the moments of your liiiiife..." I felt like I was living in some Maxwell House commercial.

She then gazed out the window, taking it all in, savoring everything, and smiling. Total bliss is a beautiful thing, quite difficult to photograph, and I wanted to remember it. That was when I feigned camera trouble and anonymously snapped this photo. She had no idea she was being photographed; had I asked to take their picture, it would have been stiff and artificial - nothing at all like what you see there. I'll never forget Carol and Barbara.

Anyway, the point of this whole post:

One of the things I like about living in San Francisco is the fact I have no car. I don't need one...my neighborhood is quite well-served by public transportation, and every single parking spot available is always, always, always taken. Always.

I'm serious, every goddamn spot.

Parking lots, in addition to being few and far between, are prohibitively expensive; the lot across the street from me costs $10 a day (a relative bargain, but you have to leave the keys with the attendant and there are no in-and-out privileges) and $275 a month. In addition to that, my building doesn't have a garage, or even a driveway. There isn't even any street parking...I live at the intersection of two steep, narrow alleys. As a result, anyone who wants to come visit me and asks, "So, how's the parking situation in your neighborhood?" makes me laugh, especially if they live in San Francisco themselves.

I'm like, "Fool, it's North Beach. Take a goddamn taxicab."

However...sometimes renting a car is inevitable. Chris A. has had his rental Pontiac Bonneville for a week or so now, and yesterday, picked up his new car, a 2001 Jaguar XJ8 out in Richmond (an east-bay suburb). He named it "Eddy" after the Absolutely Fabulous character, Edina "Eddy" Monsoon. His old car, a 1990 Jaguar Sovereign XJ6, was named "Patsy" after, of course, Patsy Stone from the same series. Patsy was so named because, in Chris A's own words, she was an aging beauty WAY past her prime. Every time it wouldn't start, he'd always yell, "Damn you Patsy! You stayed out all night drinking Stoli-bolis and snorting coke, didn't you?"

Chris is probably one of the biggest, gayest homosexuals I've ever met in my entire life. AND he's from New Orleans. AND he's an attorney. Gay! Gay! Gay!

When he picked up the car, he tossed me the keys to the Bonneville and said, "Do something with...that," waving his hands toward the general vicinity of where it was parked. "It has to be turned in tomorrow at the Budget place on Van Ness at 1:30 in the afternoon...have fun." Thus began my Bay Area Bonneville Adventure...I suddenly had a very large, very powerful, rented American car at my disposal. I drove the snot out of it...and actually got it airborne at the corner of Eddy and Gough streets in San Francisco. If you've ever gone flying down Gough (pronounced like "cough" for those unfamiliar) you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.

I know, I know...I'm such a kid. But it was so fast! And it handled quite well! And it was a rental! (For the record: Don't EVER buy a used rental car from San Francisco. BAD idea.) It was great being behind the wheel of a car again...especially here. Flying up and down the hills is so much fun, and made me forget, if only temporarily, what's been weighing me down lately. I drove EVERYWHERE, to the top of Twin Peaks, Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, Fisherman's Wharf, out to the Cliff House...I was a tourist in my white rental car. I was tempted to do the 49-mile scenic drive, but I want to do that in an old convertible when I eventually get around to it. So this morning, I had to get up extra early to move it out of the parking lot across the street to avoid that $10 charge, and ended up just parking it on the sidewalk in front of my apartment building with the blinkers on for a few hours.

After the gym today, Chris tossed me the keys to Eddy and said, "Wanna drive her?" Unable to resist such arm-twisting, I slid behind the steering wheel and decided to drive out to Crissy Field, so I could take the official "Chris With His New Jag" portrait with the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop. Here it is:

It's actually quite a fetching automobile...and I loved driving it. It handles quite well, understeers perfectly, and cruises with style and grace. It's also quite fast...it's like a BMW without being so cold and Teutonic, or like a Lincoln Continental without being so...cushy. I positioned Eddy just so for this picture, and Chris posed. It should be noted he wore that outfit just for that picture...his pants match the interior color of the car.

Told you he was a big homo.



one day at a time.

deux chevaux -- 2004, by chad

After a weekend of bad food, too much alcohol, bad behavior, and sparring with my stalker, not to mention way too much time lying around in bed, I'm ready to join the real world.

Thanks for all the comments and e-mails that were sent supporting me...I really, really appreciate them. Every single one made me smile, and is helping me be happy with and accept the decisions I've made.

Time to go get some coffee...and join Chris A. at the gym for our morning workout. I've got some catching up to do. No more bad food for me, no more drinking to excess. Cut back on the whiskey and vodka, more fresh vegetables and fruits. No more lying around feeling sorry for myself and letting my apartment get messy. No more being distracted...and time to get out and savor the world around me.

None of that.

The sun is shining, I have a roof over my head, a kitchen full of food, a fast internet connection, and most of all...people who care about me. I need to clean this place up, open up the windows, air it out, and swiffer the hell out of my floors. I need to dive into my projects undistracted, with a new intensity and focus, and never look back.

There's no stopping me now. It's 2005. I'm going to make it count.




i am so full

neon nipple a la northbeach, 2004 -- by chad

My god. I had no idea I could stuff that much food into me. For dinner tonight at Original Joe's, I started out with an enormous bowl of homemade minestrone soup, topped with a generous heaping of parmesan cheese and pepper, a half-loaf of fresh Italian bread with butter, and a huge plate of spaghetti with bolognese sauce and two gigantic meatballs, washed down with a grimy half-caraffe of house burgundy.

Now, keep in mind this was all served to me by a hunched-over, 75 year-old Italian guy with a thick accent, wearing a black tuxedo. On a brown, oval ceramic platter. At a fake-wood formica table in a brown naugahyde booth. With fake wood paneling and brass plates on the walls.

It. Was. Just. What. I. Needed.

At one point, I time-traveled. There was nothing in front of me that suggested it was 2005; there was a 1975 Buick Electra 225 parked out front, and a guy with mutton-chop sideburns and a plaid leisure suit, looking like a pimped-out Captain Kangaroo, was sitting in the booth in front of me. So, I decided...what the hell. It's not 2005. Oh, no. It's 1976. As I sat there eating my spaghetti, looking at Captain Pimparoo, in walks a woman who looked frighteningly, yet deliciously like Pam Grier in "Coffy" (1973).

Oh HELL yeah. Time traveling is fun.

And the Tenderloin is the best place to do it.

I couldn't eat it all, so when a homeless man came stumbling up to me and thrust a cup in my face on Ellis Street, asking for change, I instead handed him a bag filled with spaghetti, meatballs, bolognese sauce, and the other half of a loaf of Italian bread. He was ecstatic, and I was happy I didn't have to carry it around anymore.

I don't give spare change, but I will give food to a hungry man. I'm no better than he is, and if I have something I don't want that he needs...well, let's just say he's probably blissfully full right now. I should have bought him a small bottle of chianti to go with it.


mean sleep

untitled, 2004 -- by chad

I'll just come right out and say it, as this is my blog, it's my party, and I'll cry if I want to. You would cry too if it happened to you.

Chris F. (the boyfriend) and I will no longer be speaking, corresponding, or spending any time together. We came to that decision yesterday, shared our last glass of wine in front of a fire in the fireplace, had our last dance together, and parted ways. It's for the best.

Like Cree Summer and Lenny Kravitz sang:

How could the clouds tease us into thinking it might rain?
How could the need deceive us into thinking things might change?
I had a mean sleep over you.
And it hurts, hurts coming back to life.

It began with a smile. It deepened with a kiss. It ended with a tear. And after he left, as the fire faded away, so did my dreams of our future together, until there was nothing left but cold, dark ashes.

And so it goes.

In the meantime, I'm going to dive into my work, writing, photography, and try to mend the friendships I let fall by the wayside in the past year. I'm going to try to make 2005 the year I finally get hit my stride. It's about time, don't you think?

Now I'm heading over to Original Joe's in the Tenderloin right now for a big plate of spaghetti with meat sauce, a big glass of chianti, and a slab of fresh hot bread with lots and lots of butter, and today's San Francisco Chronicle. It's just a low-road joint where where humanity meets, in a dicey part of town. It's just the kind of unpretentious, down-to-earth place this hurting Cleveland boy needs to be right now.

Besides, it gives me an excuse to hang out in one of my favorite neighborhoods in the entire world. Hey...I'm from Cleveland. I love sketchy.

In the meantime, I have this bit of unfortunate news. There is a certain individual in Chicago, Illinois who has been harassing, threatening, and stalking me in a Cleveland-based online news forum. What started as a minor disagreement, then escalated into a pissing match, then a flame war, has now turned into an all-out crusade against me, and it's gone beyond petty and annoying and crossed into the surreal.

On the other hand, I have a stalker. Does this mean I've arrived?

I have so many other things to deal with right now...I so don't have the time OR energy for him.



guest blog.

untitled, 2004 -- by chad

Today, I guest-blogged at Krenneke's place over in Central Anatolia, Turkey. If you have a chance, check it out. He also has an equally-fascinating photoblog.

And not to diminish from his talent or intelliegence, but he's also one of the most attractive, sexy men I've ever encountered.

How fortunate am I to meet such beautiful and interesting people, even if it's only through a cable that runs from my computer, into a modem, into another cable, that disappears into my wall?



a kindred spirit

discotheque, 2004 - by chad

Again, thanks to Rich for being the inspiration for the title to that photo as well.

Today, it seems as if I was never sick, save for a residual lightheadedness. I simply cannot believe how quickly I recovered. My strength returned in leaps and bounds, and it seemed I felt better and better every minute. In fact, last night, my friend Greg called and asked me to meet him and a friend of his out for drinks and some billiards. Always a sucker for cocktails and pool, and I had been cooped up inside for a few days, I (perhaps unwisely) threw on something cute and headed downtown to the subway to take me to the dreaded Castro, where I was to meet them at Detour, a decidedly cruisy and dirty bar (but with a nice pool table).

I actually kind of like the place. Go figure.

Greg immediately started feeding me cocksucker shots and put a pool cue in my hand. I actually won the first game fair and square, then scratched on the next one. We decided to move on to...yeah, you guessed it, Badlands, where I decided to just get down and dirty on the dance floor and just shake that ass you see two posts down all over the place. It felt good...I actually love dancing and working up a sweat. It gives me a great endorphin rush, actually...they were actually playing some good songs. I got my ass grabbed a few times, too.

It happens.

I started feeling tired, and obeying the signals my body was sending me, I bid Greg and company farewell, and hopped back on the metro to take me back downtown. As I walked up Kearny Street, I could see that all the neon lights of North Beach, along with everyone's apartment windows, were all dark. Bright pink flares were all over the streets, and it appeared that the nightly North Beach party had ended early. What on earth, I thought, has happened now?

Turns out an underground transformer exploded spectacularly and knocked out at least four grids. Great. This made the third time in 24 hours my power had been out...why the hell do I bother resetting all my digital clocks?

As I walked into my building, I saw my building manager, Paul, had set out little saucers with tea lights in the hallways so people returning home would have light. Pretty nice of him, actually. He's kind of an odd fellow, a 40 year-old San Francisco native, friendly, definitely marches to the beat of his own drum (I do that too, except in my case, it's an accordion). He's lived in the same apartment since he was 20, and has had the same phone number since he was born in 1965 (it was originally his parents' number in Russian Hill). During the day, he's a chef at Enrico's, and oddly (for an American, but not particularly a San Franciscan), he's never driven a car in his life.

I eventually ran into Paul and asked him if I could borrow a few tealights, as I'm fresh out, and haven't had a chance to run over to Emeryville and grab another bag of Glimma from Ikea. He happily tossed a few handfuls my way, and we went and sat on the stairs in the lobby and started shooting the shit. We had a pretty interesting conversation...in the hour or so we talked, I found out all the dirt on some of the tenants in the building. We talked about cement trucks, pot smoking, washing machines, ships, levitation, toilet tanks, date-stamping on Western Electric telephone components, and other random minutiae. It was the perfect A. D. D. conversation. I loved it.

At one point, in the low light, Paul looked like a ten year-old, with his hair all wild and crazy, jumping around a bit, and his friendly, almost child-like, quite-animated demeanor. I knew right then and there what it was like to hang out with Paul when he was ten. And I suspect had we lived in the same neighborhood, in the same state, we probably would have been best friends. He told me he had always been a sort of misfit who never had a lot of friends, but didn't really need any. I'm the exact same way. When I was a kid, I barely had any friends at all, but didn't really care. The friends I did have were fellow misfits like myself...shunned by everyone else and ousted from their cliques. Paul was like all my childhood friends all rolled into one...and for a brief second, I felt like a ten year-old again, sitting there, just talking about random shit that nobody else would talk to me about.

Try finding another ten year-old who wants to discuss the difference between a Westinghouse Silverliner and a Thomass Betts streetlight fixture, or who knows how to draw a Honeywell thermostat from memory. It's next to impossible. They'd rather just kick your ass and leave it at that.

I also realized something else...believe it or not, native San Franciscans are not much different than native Clevelanders. Every single one I've met tend to be quite friendly, middle-of-the-road, down-to-earth, hard-working, grounded, and have lots and lots of common sense. It's all the wackos from all over the country that flock to San Francisco that give the city its reputation, and they roll their eyes at the PC out-of-control atmosphere that permeates this city, as do I.

I went upstairs after bidding Paul good night, carefully trying not to spill hot parrafin on my hand as I navigated the darkness...happy I wasn't alone in this world, and a fellow misfit like myself lived just downstairs from me.





This morning, for the first time in two days, I was finally able to pull myself out of bed. I've been sicker these past few days than I've been in the past 3 years. It's insane. I was supposed to go to the hospital yesterday, but none of my 415 friends have cars, or cars that move under their own power (Chris A.'s Mercedes 300E has a bum tranny). This meant I had to take the lovely 38 Geary out to the VA hospital which Was Just Not Going To Happen. I could have taken a cab, but that's a $60 round trip and I just don't want to spend that kind of money on a goddamn taxicab. Besides, I could barely make it to the bathroom, let alone walk out the front door. My fever at one point went to over 103, and I started hallucinating.

That wasn't fun. Especially when I coughed and this horrible, thick, nasty avocado-green stuff came bubbling out of my mouth into my hands. For a minute there, I had to laugh, because all I could think about was Linda Blair. So there I was, looking like hell, 3 am, eyes all puffy, temperature of 103 point something, and laughing. My voice was extremely hoarse, and I yelled out to nobody in particular, "Fuck meee! Fuck meeee!"

Hey, it was funny to me at the time. It's probably a good thing nobody else saw that. And I also just realized that last paragraph makes absolutely no sense to anyone who hasn't seen "The Exorcist".

Today, while still feeling like crap, I'm a bit stronger and I can actually walk around and get to the kitchen to make some tea. Now, I haven't eaten much in the past few days, and I've lost about 10 pounds, because I have an extremely high metabolism. As a result, I'm ravenously hungry right now, and all I can think about is Chick-fil-A. I would cut off one of my testicles for a Chick-fil-A sandwich. The closest one is in Fairfield, which is a 45 minute drive from here. If I was there I'd get at least ten. Probably eat every single one of them too.

As soon as I post this, I am going to get in the shower, make myself presentable, and get on the 38. So if you work anywhere in the vicinity of Montomery and Market streets in San Francisco and see a 6'2" guy who looks like he's about to fall over while waiting for the bus, be sure to poke me with a stick to see if I'm still alive.


Chris A. just called to tell me he's rented a Pontiac Bonneville and is going to drive me to the VA. God damn, Chris. You fucking rock. :-)

Gotta get in the shower now.


My doctor told me my immune system of steel fought off most of the infection in a surprisingly short amount of time, but she gave me antibiotics and cough syrup (with coedine...yay) to take in the meantime. And Chris A., who complained about the Pontiac's styling and rental color (white), had very little to complain about when he stomped on the gas pedal. Those Bonnevilles can scoot, let me tell you.

The above photo was taken by me last October, on Broadway in Chinatown here in San Francisco. I originally posted it in my photoblog, with this text:

I saw this billboard today, and I still cannot figure out what the hell it's trying to tell me. As I was taking this picture, a woman stopped dead in her tracks and stared at me for about 30 seconds in complete silence, standing about a foot away from me.

I said "Hi," but she said nothing, continuing to stare at me.

I said, "What does this billboard mean?"

No response. Just a blank stare.

I said, "Injury,?Lawyers,?" in the hopes that maybe she spoke billboard gibberish.

Again, just a blank, silent stare. she eventually shuffled away.

Sometimes i think everyone in San Francisco is insane.

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 by Chad Fox. All rights reserved.