Karmic justice.

Now WHY did seeing this bring such joy to my heart?

It must be a San Francisco thing.

Taken at the corner of Broadway and Larkin streets.



Oh HELL yeah...

Turn up your speakers. No, really...turn 'em up LOUD.

Okay, this is dedicated to SIX!!!

...and there's a certain person in Coventry Village, Cleveland Heights, Ohio...who needs to be standing up right now and shaking that boo-tay.

It's on Lee...it's on Lee...!!! Monticello walkers...all Monticello walkers!*

*This will only make sense to about 3 people in the entire universe. And the song, "It's On Lee" (which was drunkenly composed in the car on the way home from Brennan's Colony up in the Heights, was recorded by my sister Hilly and yours truly in the upstairs bathroom of my parents' house about 14 years ago on an 1980's Emerson cassette recorder.


Apparently, there's a remix of the song:

And of course, they spoofed it on Family Guy (the episode where Stewie is in a plastic ball for some reason):

The Children's Television Workshop in the 1970's was absolutely genius.



I guess I should update this occasionally, huh?

First and foremost, the weather here has been AMAZING. Here are some pretty pictures I took of San FranPretty.

Pretty, pretty, pretty.

A lot has been going on, actually. However, I have to talk about 2 weekends ago when I was hanging out with the ever-beautiful and incredibly intense Atari and Raybee. I had such a good time...and I can't wait to go back.

Raybee lives in an old garment factory in Weehawken, New Jersey, right across the Hudson river from Manhattan. In fact, his loft lines up with 34th Street in Manhattan, and he has an incredible view of the Empire State Building. No, I didn't take any photos. I was kind of taking a break from all of that, actually.

Next time, I promise.

Anyway, he has a crawlspace converted into a bedroom and the ceiling is like, 5 feet high. He doesn't have any normal "rooms" per se in his house, except maybe his bathroom...it's like a big clubhouse filled with crazy art and toys and fun stuff and good food and tea and snacks. I loved it...when I hang out with Raybee it's like I'm 11 or 12 and he's the same age. I sometimes forget what it's like to be a kid, and as soon as Raybee picked me up from the airport in his bright metallic green Tonka Truck-like Jeep Wrangler with an inflatable Mystery Machine on the dashboard, I knew we'd be fast friends. I had a chance to hang out with him and just chill, and we had a fantastic time singing karaoke in a Hoboken gay bar the night before I left. I had a blast...he gave me a shot while I was in the middle of singing a song, and right before I took a breath to start the next verse of the song I was singing (Forever in Blue Jeans by Neil Diamond) I chugged it and continued right on. I made a few friends...Tony the Personal Trainer from Hoboken (you'll hear him when I called the drunk dial line for the next APNH podcast) and Casper the 6'4" Tall Pierced-Tongue-Having Lead-Singer-Of-A-Band Emo Boy (who went back with us to Raybee's Clubhouse when we shut down the bar). The bartender, an adorable, friendly Sicilian twentysomething with a bubble booty, New York accent, and a dazzling smile bought me another shot when I sat down, and also gave me his phone number; he seemed sincere, so I called him and left a message the next day.

Oh hell yeah!

Now, I also got to hang out with Atari as well...we walked all through Manhattan, and he showed me the apartment building where he grew up. We did some serious bonding, and I realized that he and I probably would have been great friends when we were kids. We were getting hungry after a while, and even though I had some "street meat" (a delicious hot dog from a cart) we decided to hang out with his mom and stepdad on the Upper West Side. So we hopped on the subway, went to their fabulous apartment, and had dinner together in a great Greek diner around the corner from their pad. I love that neighborhood, and his folks are wonderful people. His stepdad is actually an author and fellow blogger and is a really cool guy. He gave me a copy of one of his books, and even signed it for me. I started reading it on the plane...it's already sucked me in. It's a murder mystery/supernatural sort of novel, set in rural North Dakota. I love it.

The next day, I went to some bar in Chelsea...I can't remember what it was called. Atari was having brunch with his family, and said he'd meet me at the bar. So, while I was waiting, I phoned my ex boyfriend Nate (he lives in the gayborhood), and asked what he was doing. He sounded irritated, and it was so loud in the bar I couldn't really hear what he was saying over the din. I picked out "never call" and "once meant a lot to me" and "pointless" before I said I couldn't hear him and I'd just talk to him some other time.

Frowning, I snapped my phone shut; I was now crabby and annoyed, and I actually felt a little lump in my throat. Goddammit, this is not how I wanted to spend my glorious Sunday afternoon in New York, and definitely not the way I wanted things to be between Nate and me.

Because I had gotten up from the bar to try to find a quieter spot a few feet away, my seat was occupied by someone else when I stepped back over to the barstool. He looked at me like, "Whadda ya gonna do about it, huh?" Not wanting to get kicked out for breaking a barstool over someone's head and starting an all-out donnybrook (tempting as it was), I restrained myself and simply found another spot at the bar a few stools down [tee-hee-hee...I said "stools"] and sent Nate a text message. Just as I hit send, I felt the guy sitting next to me staring at me, and I looked up.

It was Nate.

He was all Chelsea'd out with a tight shirt that showed off his rippled, muscled physique and a pair of tight jeans that showed off his Hebrew National in the front and his kosher badonkadonk in the back. I smiled at him, noting how much bigger his arms were from the last time I saw them, and admiring the vein that ran along the top of each of his plump biceps. The boy has been taking good care of himself.

"Hey babe," I said.

"Hey darlin," he replied, with a trace of his Buffalo, New York accent on the vowels.

"You look good." He did. Like, really good. Damn him for breaking up with me, I thought.

"You do too," he lied. He's a terrible liar. He gets this twitch in his face when he lies, and his face twitched so hard I swear I thought he had Parkinson's disease or had bitten his tongue while washing out his mouth with vinegar.

"No I don't," I sighed. I looked kind of dumpy and crunchy as I slouched there in my black Nor-Cal hoodie and baggy jeans, with no styling product in my hair whatsoever (I was feeling lazy and didn't feel like making myself pretty), compared to the carefully coiffed Chelsea boys in tight clothing that surrounded us. Not to mention I've put on about 20 pounds since the last time I saw him. Yuck.

Okay, fine. 35 pounds. Yes, I'm painfully aware of it. I look in the mirror daily. Now I've acknowledged it, you can all stop talking about it behind my back.


He looked upset. I asked him why, and he told me. It was a good conversation...there was some closure that never happened when he broke up with me to move to New York (long story...it was for the best). He said I've been neglecting him. I said he hurt me. He said I've been elusive and non-communicative. I said he was right. I've been a hermit, a total shut-in hermit. When you're feeling pudgy and chunky you just don't want to see or talk to people, and apparently, this tends to piss my friends off.

I let him just talk for a while, listening carefully to what he was saying. I responded in kind, knowing he was right. We had a good talk, and I realized as we did I still love him dearly, even if I'm no longer in love with him. We've been through WAY too much to just drift apart...Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family in Cleveland, his cousin's bris with HIS family from Buffalo at his sister's place in Chicago, being bumped off a flight at O'Hare on New Years' Eve and going to a party at the Crowbar in Chicago instead of spending it in San Francisco, a roadtrip across the United States from Cleveland to San Francisco in my rusty Chevrolet Lumina, my dad's 60th birthday party in Cleveland Heights where he met my extended family...we packed a lot into the short time we dated.

"Nate," I finally said, "I love you, I always have, and I always will until the day I die."

He looked like he was going to cry, but he did that cute thing he always does with his lower lip when he's smiling and starting to sob at the same time. Then I hugged him, and felt a bunch of emotions wash over me. I realized I miss him dearly as a friend, and how much we used to make each other laugh until we were gasping for breath. I thought about how he played Dance Dance Revolution at Battlefield Mall in Springfield, Missouri when my Lumina broke down and stranded us there for three days, and the crowds we attracted (apparently they had never seen a Jewish San Francisco circuit boy from Buffalo tear it up on that game before). I thought about our "Tard-Out Sessions" where we would just act completely retarded and loud in public. I thought of him buying cheap sunglasses in Chinatown because "they're a great value...Value Glasses!" or buying a huge sandwich at the Castro Safeway deli for us to share because it was "clearly a better value" than two smaller sandwiches. I thought about the parties and clubs we went to, and how much fun we had holding each other on the dance floor, shirtless, aware of only each other. I thought about how brutally honest he is, and how I never had any doubt in my mind he loved me the entire time we were dating.

I love him for these things. I really do.

I smiled at him, and he smiled back. My heart sang. Right then and there, I knew we'd always be friends, and we have something incredibly special with each other. Just as suddenly as he appeared, he left, leaving me in my own thoughts, nibbling on miniature pretzels with a red plastic cup of cheap beer in front of me. I glanced over at the guy who took my seat earlier, who was eyeing Nate as he walked out, then me, then Nate, then me, then down in his beer. Yeah, that's right, I thought. Drink your goddamn cheap-ass beer, you fucking cockslap.

Snarky Snarkowski!

My phone rang, it was Atari. I told him to meet me at the bar, and after hanging up I went downstairs to play bingo with a tweaker and a drag queen. I won 3 games! A $20 bar tab (which I used to buy drinks for a few cute boys with cute New York accents), a $60 gift certificate for a hair salon in Manhattan, and a $50 gift certificate for a sex toy store, also in Manhattan. Oh hell's yeah. I was on FIAH.

Eventually, Atari joined me for a few games, then disappeared to get something to eat, saying he'd call me when he was done. I never heard from him the rest of the night; I later discovered the battery in my phone died.

Then...I kind of forget what happened after that. Well, I remember bits and pieces, and the near-migraine headache that suddenly manifested itself as I was in Times Square, and how it just as quickly disappeared on the subway 15 minutes later. I somehow made it back to New Jersey by 3 am, but not before arguing with a cabdriver over the fare back to Weehawken.

Anyway, do you remember me mentioning that hottie patottie Sicilian bartender boy from Hoboken? Like I said, I called him the next day when I was at the airport and left a message saying hi, not particularly thinking he'd call back. When I sat down on the plane and pulled out my phone to "place it into the 'off position'" (such a stupid thing for flight attendants to say...they should just say it needs to be "turned off"). My phone suddenly rang, and it was him. He apologized for not answering...he had been at the gym and was hoping he'd catch me before I took off. We had a nice chat, and he said he wanted to keep in touch with me because he'd be in San Francisco in August visiting friends and would like to hang out and spend some time with me.

The cockpit door was closed and the flight attendants were coming my way, so we bade each other farewell; I hung up, placed my phone into the off position, and smiled to myself, realizing that regardless of my 35 extra pounds...no matter what...my mojo is still safely intact.

And that was one to grow on.



3 interesting people.

Yes, I'm back. I don't really want to be back, but I guess if I have to be back somewhere, San Francisco isn't a bad place to be. I could be living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - which, incidentally, I hear is an absolutely lovely place - and as much as I like saying "Saskatoon, Saskatchewan" obsessively to myself over and over and over (apparently, I'm not the only person with this problem) I'm glad I hang my hat in San Francisco.

At any rate, I cannot say enough good things about Atari and Raybee. They're absolutely amazing people, and I'm honored to count them among my friends. I'll go into details later...I have a half-finished post in my drafts, but I promised myself I'd finish this post I started last week. So first things first...

One of the best things about living in San Francisco is you meet the most interesting people. I'd like to introduce three friends of mine...I think they deserve a little attention and kudos.

For starters, my friend Matthew Cannon. Matt is a musician and a painter and overall just a quirky, beautiful person. I've had the honor of spending time with him, and we just play off each other creatively and boost each other's spirits every time we hang out. Matthew is an extremely talented percussionist and is involved in a cabaret called Cotton Candy; if you want to hear samples of his work or see samples of his paintings, check out his website, mlcmusic.com.

This is probably my favorite picture of Matt:

From his site:

Cotton Candy will be exploding all over the scene in May as well. In a recent CNN.com article, Marcus Selby (a very popular and successful San Francisco jazz musician) gave his top 10 venues to hear good music in the City. On the list were Amnesia and The Red Poppy Art House. I am happy to report that we have performances at both locations this month and I highly recommend attending either of them. Both venues have their charms and are very intimate indeed. Lastly, but certainly not least, is Martuni’s-a lovely martini/piano bar in San Francisco. Kielbasia will be opening for us, and we always enjoy playing with her. Come by for a Manhattan and get your Cotton Candy fix in an elegant and sophisticated setting.

Matthew and I are doing a sort of art trade; I am giving him a set of my photos (his choice of whatever he wants, or I will produce something original for him), printed, mounted, framed, and signed, AND a photo session of him that will probably be completely off-the-wall and wonderful. He, on the other hand, said he'd paint a portrait of someone quite influential and important in my family...someone who has had an incredibly lasting impact on who I am today. I'll reveal who that is at some point, but until then it's going to be a closely-guarded secret (that means I'm not telling you who it is, Mom). The portrait is destined to become a Fox family hierloom for generations to come. Not to mention it'll be worth tens or perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars someday (and I am dead serious when I say that...I have that much confidence in Matt and his artistic aspirations).

I can't wait. :-)

Next, I want to introduce you to Darwin Bell.

I've had the pleasure of knowing Darwin for a few years now, and whenever I think of his name, I think of the great time I have whenever I run into him or when we hang out. He's one of the few people who "gets me" if you know what I mean...I have a tendency to say things that really confuse most people but Darwin has evolved to the point to where he understands exactly what I'm talking about. He currently has a show called Sign Language, which is one of the most brilliant concepts I've seen...ever. He takes Polaroid pictures of words, scavenger hunt-style...of street signs, billboards, stores, graffiti, anywhere there is text in the urban setting...and creates phrases and sentences from them.

As you can see, he goes to great lengths for his art:

They're quite insightful, and they say a lot about how Darwin sees the world around him.

From his website:

"Sign Language was born on a whim," says Darwin Bell, the man behind the Polaroid camera, "while I was trying to come up with an original gift for my friend's birthday."

And so he began taking pictures of words from the urban environment surrounding him. With those words, he created phrases that were either twists on well-worn clichés ("Beauty is in the eye of the media") or personal statements, both humorous and serious in nature ("Natural selection is a bitch"). The end result has been a unique, fresh perspective on a familiar idea that is one-of-a-kind and impossible to duplicate.

Here is a portrait I took of Darwin last summer at the Eagle Tavern here in San Francisco at one of the weekly Beer Busts:

I must say I am in posession of a single Darwin Bell original Polaroid that he left here after an impromptu after-hours birthday party I threw for a mutual friend. It's prominently displayed in my living room next to another Polaroid shot...of me with John Waters at a book signing at Amoeba Records up in the Haight. Darwin, if you want it back, I'll totally bring it to you. Just let me know. :-) At any rate, I am confident that like Matt, Darwin is also going to excel and take Sign Language to a whole new level. He's that intelligent and clever.

Finally, I want you all to meet Andrew Bundy.

That sexy, beverage-sipping guy would be Andrew. Not only is he intelligent, engaging, and a master mathematician, he also has an incredibly soulful and sexy singing voice. From his myspace page:

[Andrew] Bundy has been writing and performing his own music since 1997 and is currently working on his first full-length album. Since the release of his homemade demo EP, "Speak Easy," in December of 2002, Bundy has played open mics and concerts throughout the Bay Area. Citing the likes of fellow singer-songwriters Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos and Stevie Wonder as his key musical influences, Bundy's music contains elements of jazz, folk, soul, R&B and funk and spans lyrical topics ranging from internet dating to gay society. Vocally, Bundy is as influenced by the great jazz crooners Chet Baker and Bobby Darin as he is by the soulful sounds of Nina Simone and the folk stylings of Nick Drake.

Here's a picture I took of Andrew at a party last year...he's the one on the left wearing the bedazzled cowboy hat. If you click on it, you can see the larger version and also if you look carefully, you can see Andrew's pierced left eyebrow...a bit of bling I find absolutely sexy and irresistable:

Sexy! Hot! Talented! Acquaint yourself with him! You'll be hearing a lot more of him in the future! You can download a few of his tracks from his myspace page...I've listened to him more than once on dreary MUNI rides, with his crooning filling my ears and warming my heart.

So while I miss New York, New Jersey, and the amazing people I've met and grown to adore who all live there, I'm quite glad to call San Francisco my home...where I get to meet, befriend, and hang out with some of the most interesting, quirky, sexy, talented, and amazing people in the world.



You know, Fletcher...

...when you try to bite my feet while I'm walking across the room don't act all surprised when I step on your head.



Torn between two coasts.

Since I've been here in New York (well, actually Weehawken, NJ...right across the Hudson from Manhattan) I've realized just how much I love this city/metropolitan area. New Yorkers are surprisingly nice people...contrary to the popular misconception that says they're rude or unneccesarily brusque. They're quite nice, but if you ask them for directions, do so in less than 10 seconds and listen carefully when they respond. They'll tell you...ONCE. When you take a long time asking or ask them to repeat themselves they tend to cuss you out or lose interest and walk away.

And I'd just like to say if you ever want to seduce me, just speak in a New York accent. Preferrably Brooklyn. Or the Bronx. Because I'll be all yours.


[climbs up to the pulpit]

I made a trek to the Huge And Depressing Large Hole In The Ground Once Known As The World Trade Center. Honestly, The Large Hole irritates me. There is a "Viewing Fence" that surrounds it, and people just stand there and stare and take photos through the fence. It's ridiculous. I remember when there were two magnificent buildings standing there and there were places to go and restaurants to eat at and tacky, but cute souveniers to buy. Yes, it sucks that terrorists brought the buildings down. Yes, it's horrible that 2,752 people perished there less than 5 years ago. Yes, it was a blow to the economy and our collective psyche and our nation.

BUT FOR F**K'S SAKE BUILD SOMETHING THERE ALREADY! From a business standpoint, it's a useless piece of real estate. No taxes are being collected. No business is being conducted. It should NOT have taken this long to build the WTC replacement. For eff's sake this is the United States of America...if 80% of San Francisco was rebuilt in 3 years following the 1906 earthquake and fire, then 100 years later we can put up another skyscraper...bigger and better and stronger than the one that was there. What the hell has happened to this country? The United States I grew up in would have rebuilt something immediately after cleanup. The United States I grew up in would have set aside differences and pulled together as a country in defiance of our enemies. The United States I grew up in wouldn't have bickered and bitched over the designs of the World Trade Center replacement, with everyone being afraid of offending someone, with architect's inflated egos preventing any true innovation. Quit the weeping, bitching, and complaining and get back to business as usual!

New York, it's about time. I'm glad they've "broken ground" on the Freedom Tower but it shouldn't have taken this long. Let this be a lesson...a country divided is a country that will ultimately fail.

I didn't bring my camera this trip...I honestly didn't feel like lugging it around. However, I did take this photo with my camera phone:

It was quite poignant, and I got a lump in my throat when I read it.

They're also dismantling this building floor by floor, the former Deutsche Bank Building at 130 Liberty Street:

That huge gash in the front is where a large piece of one of the towers hit it, destroying its lobby and several support columns. They keep finding human remains in it...such a waste. It was built in 1974, and would have provided over 100 years of service. However, it's now a rotten shell, filled with mold, asbestos, and dioxin. They can't implode it, because New York has way too many fragile underground utilities that could be damaged by the force of a 40-story building crashing to the ground. I look forward to the day where it's business as usual down there, with people working in the tower and enjoying the plaza, and tourists spending their money freely in what I think is the best city in the entire world.

[steps down from the pulpit]

Okay, where was I? Oh yes...

[climbs up onto the Bitch Box]

New York cab drivers. They're pretty much omnipresent until you actually need one. They are 99% extended-wheelbase (by 6 inches) Ford Crown Victoria P72's with long rear doors with lots of leg room in the back seat. Nice and roomy and comfy, and clean and well-maintained. However, as soon as you tell the driver you need to go over to Weehawken, New Jersey, the bitching and the moaning starts. Not to mention the bullshitting. I have yet to have two drivers tell me the same fare to New Jersey. Sometimes it's double the fare. Sometimes it's a flat rate. Sometimes they just complain and moan and forget to start the meter. But I have discovered the fare through the Lincoln Tunnel is highly negotiable.

Atari and I flagged a cab at 72nd and Broadway on the Upper West Side. A shiny-new, bright yellow Crown Victoria obediently pulled over. I opened the long rear door, and we climbed in.

"I need to go through the Lincoln Tunnel to Weehawken."

In a thick Haitian accent, the driver immediately started bitching. "But I am only a part-time driver! I do not know the toll for the tunnel! I cannot pick up passengers in New Jersey!"

"It's just on the other side of the tunnel, guy."

"They are very mean to New York cab drivers over there!"

"You'll be back in New York in ten minutes."

"I do not know the toll!"

"Hold on." I pulled out my phone and called Raybee.

"Who are you calling?!?"

"My friend."

"Who? Who?"

"Relax, dude." He sounded like an owl. He then proceeded to complain and bitch and moan about having to take us to New Jersey while I was on the phone with Raybee. I hung up. "It's six dollars."

"The fare is double as soon as I exit the tunnel and you must give me tunnel toll money!"

"Fine. Just take us to Weehawken."

We sailed down Broadway, making pretty good time. Traffic was heavy, but it was moving. The driver was mumbling under his breath the entire time. Soon, we were around 42nd Street where the entrance to the tunnel is located.

"You must give me tunnel toll!"

"Yes, I know. I already said I would."

He bitched all the way through the tunnel. I was starting to wish the ceiling would collapse from the weight of the Hudson River, killing us all, just so he'd shut his goddamn mouth. When we got to the other side of the tunnel, he was driving like New Jersey State Troopers had placed land mines everywhere to kill unsuspecting New York cab drivers.

"I do not know where I am!"

"Don't worry, it's 4 blocks from here."

"Where do I go?"

"Turn right." He continued going straight. "Dude, turn right." He started panicking and hit the gas. "DUDE...TURN RIGHT!" He continued forward, his hands gripping the wheel. I suspect if he had been Caucasian his knuckles would have been white. But I guess when you're Haitian...oh you know what I mean. He hit the gas again, and our right turn was now way behind us.

Next thing I know, we're over the bridge in Hoboken.

"Turn around, please."

"They are very very mean to New York cab drivers in New Jersey! I do not want to make a U-turn!"

"Dude, turn around and take us back to Weehawken." At this rate, we'd be in Atlantic City before long.

"They are very mean!"

"Well there are no cops around so don't worry."

"I do not like it in New Jersey! They are mean here!"

"You'll be back in New York soon, don't worry."

"Where do I go? Where do I go?"

"Dude, stop the cab." I had had just about enough of his harried Haitian histrionics.

We got out, and ended up waiting for Raybee to pick us up and take us back to his house.

More later...I'm off to dinner...



The dust is settling.

I haven't had much time to post, but I figured I'd update just the same. My cousin is probably one of the nicest, sweetest, dearest people I've met in a long time; I'm convinced he doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He's quick to smile, is thoughtful, generous, and kind. I'm honored to be his cousin, and everyone who has met him so far has been completely enamored with him. I'm glad he's living here...for some reason, this town seems different with a blood relative living here full-time. We're getting to know each other, and the more I get to know him the more I see just how much we have in common, even though we're like night and day on the surface.

Tomorrow I'm headed to New York for a few days to hang out with Atari Age and Mr. Secret for a few days. It's one of those "I Have To Get The Hell Out Of San Francisco This Instant To Keep My Sanity Otherwise I'll Turn Into A Bigger Freak Than I Already Am" excursions.

At any rate, I'll be back Tuesday night, and hopefully by next week things will slow down a bit so I'll have time to actually post something substantial and fun. I'm working on a new podcast; I'll be done with it by the end of next week. It's going to be one of those casts where you're either gonna love it or completely hate it.

At any rate, until then, I'm out the door and headed for the East Coast...

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