Ke nono au, e kala mua mai, i keia manawa ho'i.

We moved from the Moana to the Royal Hawaiian...which is even nicer. After some initial drama with the front desk giving our suite away, and then "upgrading" us to one which not only had no ocean view, but also had an EMPTY BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE AND SOME HALF-EATEN CRACKERS SITTING ON A TABLE when we walked in.

Oh HELL no, that was just NOT going to do.

My traveling companion, who knows the director of cultural something or other for the Honolulu Starwood hotels, placed a call and had it fixed IMMEDIATELY. We ended up with this suite, which is probably the nicest one in the entire hotel outside their Presidential Suite. Again, because of the lens, I had to stand against the far wall and snap photos from 30 feet away:

We have a nice view of Diamond Head:

Macadamia nuts, banana bread, and guava juice are quite lovely as well. Is it really December 31? This Ohio native is so confuse. So, so confuse:

This is my traveling companion, who shall remain faceless and nameless for the time being:

The sun bathed the building in golden light, turning the pink a warm peach color:

Together, from our suite, we watched the last sunset of 2005. We both agreed it was one of the worst years of our entire lives, and welcomed this particular sunset quite eagerly:

As it slipped below the horizon, we made a pact to make 2006 nothing less than extraordinary.

It's a new years' resolution we both plan on keeping.

Goodbye, 2005. May my memory of you soften and sweeten over time.



E ke kuene, ua milimili 'e 'ia neia mikana.

Finally...in Honolulu. The flight here was uneventful, other than the fact that first class on United sucks ass (Continental is much better). It's like coach with bigger seats.

But I am quite grateful for being here, regardless of airline accomodations.

The above photo was taken when my traveling companion and I were staying at the Moana Hotel in Waikiki, probably one of my favorite structures in the entire world. This marks my fourth visit to Honolulu, and I've always wanted to stay there. It was like a dream come true.

BTW...somehow, my wide-angle lens got broken when I was in Cleveland, and I only have my telephoto until I replace the wide-angle. It's why my photos of this trip will have a different sort of feel to them.

For example, this one I took while lying in bed at the Moana:

I kept pinching myself...it didn't even look real. My camera can't do this place justice.

I'm going to relax now, and try to take my mind off of things.

I should have done this a long time ago.



A STMF Christmas greeting

From my home in North Beach to yours...merry Christmas.




The bitch needs snacks.

If you ever find yourself at the the Bell Tower Restaurant, located at the corner of Jackson and Polk in San Francisco's Upper Polk/Marina Heights district, you'll find this obese, gentle creature snoozing out front:

You woke me up...why?

Sigh...do you at least have a snack for me? No?


Hey, you don't have a snack for me in that bag, do you? No?

Aw shucks.

Maybe there's a snack nobody is using over there. No?

Sigh. Whatever. What do I have to do to get a snack around here? Ugh. I'm too tired to bite you. Just scratch my tummy.

I'm off to buy a Christmas tree right now. No, not a Happy Holiday tree, not a Hanukkah bush; I'm not going to stab a lamb to death slit a lamb's throat and let it bleed to death in honor of Eid-Al-Adha (I'm out of paper towels), nor am I going to get a Kwaanza Kikombe Cha Umoja, but a GODDAMN CATHOLIC CHRISTMAS TREE at the Delancey Street lot at Pier 32 on the Embarcadero down by Fisherman's Wharf. I always buy my trees from Delancey...the last one I bought was in 2000 when I lived in Hayes Valley. For various reasons, I haven't had a tree in years, mostly disinterested boyfriends and laziness. However, this year I want to have the Best Goddamn Christmas Tree In The Entire City Of San Francisco.

Hopefully I'll convince a nice cabbie to let me stick it in the trunk of his Crown Victoria and haul it back to North Beach for me.

I was going through some more tape cassettes again, and found this KABL aircheck from December 18th, 1997. At the time, I was an innocent 27 year-old, a year out of the USAF, living with my boyfriend in our large studio apartment on Leavenworth Street between Bush and Sutter (Lower Nob Hill, Tenderloin Heights, Tendernob, Nobberloin, call it what you want...I loved living there). The relationship dissolved 2 months later, but when I recorded this, I was very happy and content. Everything was right with the world. I had just worked a full day at GATX Capital in Embarcadero One, then from 5-10 I worked my night job at Pottery Barn at Sacramento and Battery (now a Sprint PCS store). I was sitting in a wing chair by the bay window, watching the rain and fog swirling around Sutro Tower (we had an incredible view) and drinking some spiked egg nog. My cat, Miss Chrysler Sebring Convertible (named that just to annoy the boyfriend), was curled up in my lap, purring, as I read the San Francisco Chronicle. It was one of those moments that was Absolutely Perfect. I grabbed a blank tape, popped it in the stereo underneath the TV set, and recorded this.

I had totally forgotten all about it until I found the tape.

I transferred it to mp3, and used Dolby C noise reduction to take out the tape hiss and AM-signal wow and flutter. It's low-fi, but for some reason, the music cuts through the AM ether and just sounds warm and comfortable. It's what I'm going to be listening to tonight when I decorate my tree. So here you go...the 11:00 PM hour of 960 KABL's Christmas special, Thursday, December 18th, 1997.



Blast from the past.

I just got that photo in my email yesterday from one of my oldest friends in the world, Christina, who still lives in Cleveland. I was 19 in that photo...I think it was taken in either late 1989 or early 1990. That cat's name was Felix (he was just euthanized about 3 months ago at the ripe old age of 15) and he had just been neutered. Felix was a cool dude...you'd pet him like a dog, he'd fetch, go out and scrap with skunks and raccoons, and return home all beat up but ready to do it again the next day.

So because she dug up that old photo, I dug up an old record we would dance to around the same time that photo was taken at the Nine of Clubs in Cleveland, a long-gone industrial/house music bar/club thingie in the warehouse district. Not a gay bar, but not exactly a straight one either. We loved the place...I'd scam drinks by flirting with both men and women (I was only 19 and had huge black "X" marks on my hands), and we'd sit and chain smoke and talk shit about people until this song would come on...then we'd go to the middle of the dance floor...wearing our black motorcycle jackets...hair hanging down into our eyes...and dance like retards because we just didn't care.

Sometimes, I'd even smoke pot in the parking lot with a young Catholic priest. Edgy, huh? At least I never got into his Jeep. Mama didn't raise a fool.

By the way, that track is called "A Day in the Life" by Black Riot, a DJ Todd Terry alias. It was released in 1988, and you'd hear it coming out of clubs and being sampled like crazy all over the Great Lakes region. I heard it all the time in Cleveland, that's for sure. Funny, when I went to New York, the music was a much different. Not as edgy or raw as the stuff coming out of Detroit.

Now, when I said Christina was old, I'm not saying she's OLD old (she's almost exactly a year older than me) but I've known her since elementary school. I forget what grade I was in, but she shoved me at the drinking fountain once and I cut my lip. Years later when we were in Catholic school (I was in 7th grade and she was in 8th), we would walk home from school (she lived 3 blocks away) and just talk about everything under the sun.

One warm, sunny spring day, we were walking home together. We were wearing our school uniforms...hers was a white blouse and a plaid skirt, mine was a pair of navy blue corduroy jeans from the The Gap at the now torn down and redone Severance Center, a light blue shirt, and a navy blue tie, loosened a bit because it was warm. She was reading a book titled "Rabbit Is Rich" by John Updike at that point (she has a genius IQ and is one of the biggest bookworms I know), glancing at it while we talked about wierd random stuff. Time travel. How many moons Jupiter had. Cars (she's a gearhead like me). How much we hated the nuns. Who was the biggest bitch at St. Louis School. The Doppler Effect after an ambulance passed us.

Suddenly, as she glanced at her book, she started laughing.

"What?" I asked.

"This line...you have to read it," she answered, handing me the book. I looked down and read this:

Cunt would be a good flavor for ice cream.

"What the hell is a cunt?" I asked her, handing the book back to her. I knew every cuss word in the world but this one was kinda new to me.

"You don't know what a cunt is?" She laughed.

"No, I don't. Tell me."


"Fucking tell me!"

"Nope." She was being a brat.

"I'm gonna start yelling it," I threatened.

"Don't you dare!"

"CUNT CUNT CUNT CUNT CUNT CUNT CUNT!" I hollered, walking down a peaceful, idyllic Cleveland Heights residential street on that warm, sunny April afternoon. A woman watering her flowers stared at me, mouth agape, hose hanging in her hand. "Christina is a cunt, a CUNTY CUNTY CUNT," I sang, until she smacked me on the back of the head.

"You'd better look that up before you start screaming it up and down the street, Chad," she said, laughing so hard she could barely breathe.

We parted ways at her street, and I continued walking home, whispering "cunt cunt cunt" under my breath so I wouldn't forget it. "Hey!" Christina yelled, "Call me when you look it up!" and started laughing again.

When I got home, for some reason my mom was home from work early, so I asked her where their Websters New World unabridged dictionary was located. I grabbed volume one, lugged it over to the kitchen rotary phone, and looked it up.

I gasped.

"What?" asked my mom.

"Nothing," I said, cringing, knowing full well this was the wrong thing to say to my very Catholic mother who would now use her Polish/Irish midwestern Catholic skills to pry the information she wanted from me. She was, and continues to be, a master at this.

"What did you need to look up?" she asked, brushing away a few errant strands of blond hair from her green eyes. She was only 37.

"Just a word I heard."

"What word is that?"

"I'd really rather not tell you." Damn, again, the wrong thing to say.

My mom put down a wooden spoon she was holding. "Tell me what word it was," with her Serious Tone. She was bluffing with the Serious Tone...but she didn't know I knew she was bluffing. It was a weak hand, but it was all I had.

"Mom, I'd really-"

"TELL ME," she demanded, pressing harder, slightly jutting out her lower jaw. Damn. I didn't know she was gonna pull out the "TELL ME" card accompanied with the Threatening Jaw Jut so soon.

"I don't think it's a word you've ever heard before," I replied, gingerly.

Mom snorted, then smirked. "Try me."

"Okay, but you asked me to tell you, so I can't get in trouble for saying it if it's bad."

"Oh for Christ's sake Chad, just tell me." She was tired of my shenanigans and my dodging, and I realized I was at past the Point Of No Return with her. Her curiosity was piqued, I was cornered, and she was gonna find out what The Word was at any cost. Checkmate. Mom: 1, Chad: 0.

I took a deep breath.

"Cunt," I said, matter-of-factly.

There. I said it. I hoped she was happy.

"What?" she asked, not quite believing her ears.


"I HEARD IT THE FIRST TIME, CHAD," she said, with a strange look on her face. A few years I later came to recognize that face as the "I Need To Appear Stern Right Now But I Am Trying Not To Laugh, Unfortunately" face. Only then could I use it to my advantage.

I thought, Duh, then why did you say "What?" when I said it? Pshh.

"You know that's not the nicest word in the world, Chad."

"Yes, I know. I just looked it up," I said, gingerly, not quite sure if I was In Big Huge Trouble or not.

"Where did you hear it?" she demanded.

"It was in a book a friend was reading and she wouldn't tell me what it was and she told me to look it up." My mom did the exact same thing. She'd never tell me what a word meant if I asked her. I always had to look it up, even if she knew what it meant.

"Who asked you to look it up?"


"What book was she reading..." my mom muttered, trailing off. She shook her head. "You know what, never mind," said, heaving an exasperated sigh. "You know not to say that word, don't you?"

"Yes, mom." Duh. Like I was gonna walk down the street yelling it or something.

Mom rolled her eyes and returned to stirring a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough. "Stay the hell out of this dough, Chad," she said, with her Slightly Widened Eyes expression, coupled with her famous Jaw Jut and Gravely Firm Tone. Basically, a full house as far as playing her cards with me. The woman meant business, I was hopelessly outfoxed, and I sat there meekly.

She turned on her heel and went upstairs.

As soon as I heard the upstairs bathroom door shut, I grabbed a chunk of dough, stuffed it in my mouth. Mmm...so, so good. She made chocolate chip cookies from scratch and god damn they were good, but the dough was just simply ambrosial. Chad: 1, Mom: 1.

I grabbed the reciever off the hook, and dialed Christina's number, thankful it didn't take very long to dial because of all the 3's in it.

"Helluh?" It was Christina.


"Did you look it up?"


Christina started laughing.

"Why the hell didn't you tell me what it meant before I started hollering it up and down Woodridge?"

"You are so fucking retarded."

Suddenly, my mom came downstairs and said, "You yelled that word while walking down Woodridge?" I was screwed.

"Christina, I have to go," I said, and hung up.

"And I thought I told you to stay the hell out of the cookie dough!"

"How do you know?"

"I always know, Chad. I always know."

Mom: 2, Chad: 1.



No point to this, really...

Sometimes it's so distracting just walking down the street, especially if I have my camera with me. Case in point...Pacific Avenue in Russian Hill. Apparently, it's the place to go to get your hair done, particularly if you have just arrived here from 1970 and want color AND exquisite styling:

But wait...what if my hairstyle isn't nice?

Oh, okay. Whew. I just want my hair to be perfect.

So then I crossed the street. Always look both ways before crossing.

First the left:

Then the right:

Oh crap...it's the phantom 12 Folsom that I never actually see stopped at a stop...it always just seems to appear out of nowhere. Good thing I looked both ways, huh?

This block is a little different...we have yoga:

Folk music:

Folk music lessons:


Hidden alleyways:

And no exceptions:

The sky was pretty...

...and I cut through an alleyway...

...filled with the most interesting graffiti...

...and art:

Anyone care to translate this? UPDATE: This has been translated by a reader: FYI, my friend, who is originally from Taiwan, said the meaning of the four chinese characters is "pedestrian passageway"

So anyway...I was playing around with Audacity again, and I got an idea. You see, back in the day when I had my radio show, I once played the song "Boys Don't Cry" by The Cure, but I started it at the wrong speed. I played an 33 rpm record at 45 rpm, but since I had the monitors turned down and wasn't wearing my headphones, it sounded like this. I was unaware of it until the phone started going crazy with people telling me I was a complete douchebag. I turned up the monitors, and after my initial shock and an "OH FUCK!!!" yelled into a live microphone, I kinda liked it. I always thought "Boys Don't Cry" was a bit too slow and plodding, but the Robert Smith Chipmunk Sound was just too ahead of its time, unfortunately. Now, with Audacity, you can change the tempo of a clip without changing its pitch. So I thought to myself, "What if I speed it up to 45 rpm, but keep the same pitch? Here is the result.

Now we're cooking with gas!

So I started thinking...there's a song on the 1978 C'est Chic album by Chic (the one with Le Freak and I Want Your Love) called "Happy Man" that I think should have also been a big hit. I first heard it when I was a little kid at a neighbor's house down the street, and I liked its smooth and nasty Nile Rogers bassline and soaring synth. I remember humming it and singing it out loud as I rode my yellow and black Schwinn Tripper to school. Thing is, in 2005 we dance a hell of a lot faster than we did in 1978, so I thought, why not punch it up a bit? Speed it up 15 percent, throw some phasing on a few parts, bump up the bass a few db in the 200hz range, and voila...fresh life in an old forgotten disco song!

If there are any DJ's who read this blog, I think you should really, really consider remixing this song.

So anyway, here's my final rough product...I kind of like it. It's going to be on my Stairmaster Mix for the gym. If anyone would care to improve on it, add to it, or have fun with it, be my guest and send me a copy.



Hilly the Clevelander

You can dump all the lake-effect snow you want...but you can't stop Hilly when she wants a sandwich and a hot chocolate after a long day at work.

...@aol.com to me
1:49 pm
hi Chaddy
Well, it was 8 degrees when I left for work this morning. 8 degrees. Is that even legal? I didn't tell you about my crack-induced trip to Tommy's last Friday. I was hell-bent on getting me a Rah and some hot chocolate from Caribou. But Cleveland weather was like, "I don't think so, sucka!" There was a huge snow storm, right before rush hour, natch. I attempted to pull into the driveway to my apartment building, but being the norm, my car got stuck. I spun my wheels, yelled a bunch of obscenities to the tune of "Why the heck do I live in Cleveland" but instead of heck I said something else. ANYHOO - so poor Jodeci is stuck in the middle of the sidewalk - and out of NOWHERE, two people came up and were like, "Need some help?" I swear they came completely out of nowhere. SO they dug me out and helped me get up the driveway. That's one thing I like about Cleveland in this perilous time of nasty weather - we always help each other out. It's almost like an unwritten rule. So after I successfully parked my car, I decided that I had nothing in my fridge and walked to Tommy's. Mind you, I had to walk like a friggen Clydesdale horse because the snow was up to my knees. But I'll be damned if I didn't get my Rah and hot chocolate. As I walked into Tommy's, I jumped in the air, flining my boots together to get the snow off. I think I looked like Mike Myers's "Phillip" from Saturday Night Live. You know, when he had that harness whilst he was attached to the jungle gym? As I trudged home, I passed an older Black man, and we gave each other the exact same look - "It's Us Against The Man" look. The man being the snow.
The End.



Good 'ol Catholic guilt.

As many people know, I was raised Catholic. I was baptized Catholic, had the Sacrament of Reconciliation, my First Communion, and my Confirmation (my confirmation name, ironically to a few people who read this blog, was Andrew). The only two sacraments I haven't received are the really cool De Exorcismus et supplicationibus quibusdam and the kinda-scary but rather beautiful Extreme Unction. I was even an Altar Boy. Okay, before anyone starts snickering, Father Bacher, Father Nadeau, Father McNulty, and Father Cassesse never touched me or did anything remotely inappropriate. They were and are honorable men; molestation doesn't happen as often as you may think. The media has turned what was once an honor into utter bathroom humor so don't even joke about that...it pisses me off.

While I retain many of the core Catholic values instilled into me by my parents, years of CCD (when I was a Public School Kid), and finally, Catholic jr. high and high school, the one that is most apparent (aside from keeping most of the ten commandments except for the one about coveting my neighbor's wife...I'm sure she's lovely but she's not my thing) is the Catholic Guilt Complex.

You see, I felt bad after telling my mom not to click on that link of Cement Brunette's voicemail. The last thing I want is for her to feel like a double-A battery on Christmas morning...Not Included. Of course, as usual, an idea turned into a full-blown, ADD-fueled, time-consuming, headphone wearing, dozens of open windows on my computer, WAV and MP3-ripping, wildly complicated Chad Project.

Yes, I know...I'm a mess. I LIVE WITH MYSELF. I KNOW THIS.

So here's a post for my mom...so I stop feeling so guilty. It's complete with cars, radio jingles, and old photos. A Sunday morning Chad Fox Geek Fest.

First, a picture of her taken in 1968:

Now, at that time, she and my dad drove a sick-ass '68 Oldsmobile Cutlass, pale saffron in color, like this one (theirs didn't have the "Parma" spoiler because it would have clashed with the chic-mod-swanky black vinyl roof). Probably one of my favorite Detroit auto designs of the 20th Century:

In 1968, my mom's favorite radio station was WIXY-1260, a Cleveland top-40 powerhouse. She wasn't some early-twentysomething teenybopper or a dirty hippie by any means...she was one of those cool mod-chix who wore snug turtlenecks, big-buckled shoes from Chandler's, a Nehru jacket, smoking Kent cigarettes and digging the smoothbooty bossa-nova beats of Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66.

So I mixed this up for mom since I don't want her clicking on the link in the previous post. It's a bunch of noisy, disruptive WIXY jingles and promos I have in my collection dropped between 3 Sergio Mendes songs. It's a WIXY-1260 Brasil '66 Tripleplay...brought to you by ADD, being in my right brain for 2 hours and losing all track of time, and mild Catholic guilt.

So here ya go, Mamacita. Something fun to listen to instead of CB's voicemail. Something you might have heard one day tooling around Cleveland in the Cutlass in 1968.

Oh, and because it totally slipped my mind this year, here's my folks celebrating Thanksgiving, 1971 1970, in their pre-Heights house in Euclid, Ohio (yes, it's a rerun but I love this photo):

Told you she had a Nehru jacket. :-)

[inside joke for Heather, Hillary, Siobhan, and anyone else who went to St. Louis School in the early 80's and had Sister Dorothy (bless her heart) for computer class...look at the nun photo, pretend you're sitting in front of an Apple IIe, and read this out loud (be sure to start in a normal tone of voice, then start shrieking halfway through it and throw a pencil across the room): "Control, open AP-PLE, RESET!]

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