This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

To All The Men In San Francisco

This is my last hurrah. I'm tired of holding my beautiful roommate's drink while she dances all night with you. Ask me to dance! I'm pretty good at it, so ask me!

I'm definitely not looking for a boyfriend right now. I'm not even looking for a date. To be honest, I've pretty much had it with men. I just want to dance my ass off. Think of it this way -- would you want your sister or coolest woman-friend to stand there all night watching someone else's ice cubes melt? I mean, would you permit that, knowing that she -- your sister or best female friend -- left her apartment full of hope after squaring her shoulders and smiling bravely into the mirror? Night after night, would you allow it, if you had the means to prevent it?

As for me, I purchased this particular dress

because smiling bravely at you just isn't working. Every woman has a girl inside of her, and every deep-down girl has a woman that contains her, and guess what? You, too, had a woman that once contained you, and whether you like it or not, she still contains you. And since you don't seem to approve when even my beautiful roommate asks you to dance, I'm counting on you men of San Francisco to do the asking.

But please, don't choose me at the end of the night because I look lonely enough to go home with you. I will never be that lonely. Choose me early, and choose me despite the dress. Choose me because you want to dance too, and because if every man in San Francisco danced with every woman in San Francisco, we'd need each other in ways that complete us, even if we choose to remain unattached. Let's not waste our lives any longer. Let's salsa.


Okay, San Francisco dudes, do you see my smile? Thank you for asking me to dance, and thank you for respecting my boundaries and treating me with respect.

San Francisco, I love you with all of my heart.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Today Was Like No Other Day

Morning Thoughts: The Results Of Your Feedback, Which Made Me Think A Little

As I explained to the beautiful lazygrl, my struggle to get revenge on Matty for changing my screensaver is just my way of teasing him, because Matty's like a brother to me. And what's the point of having a brother if I can't tease him? I love Matty from way back in the place where short stories are born, so I'm going to leave him with his Goldfrapp screensaver, which has been protokrypp'd right to the pixels. I know this is a crying shame, because I found this,

which might've made his glitter dreams more sparkling than ever, just as he has sparkled up my own existence, and, I believe, the existences of a few other people I know.

Stupid protokrypp'ing.

Thoughts In Early Afternoon: October

Instead, I now choose to focus my energy elsewhere, because, okay. A few weeks back a man came into the bookstore, bearing flowers. Since he does not drive but rides a bike, he'd transported them deep in the front of his vest. And then he drew them out. Two dahlias the color of flames, which he'd grown in his own garden. He looks like a dahlia himself -- tall and bright, with a crown of hair that goes in every direction.

So the next chance I got I went to Golden Gate Park to photograph the dahlia garden, which is situated right next to The Conservatory of Flowers. I would like to live in a place called The Conservatory of Flowers.

The dahlia garden is an odd sight, a circus of color massed impertinently in front of agave, cactus, and Monterey cypress.

From a distance these flowers look like a field of lollipops, their blossoms so profuse it's almost obscene. If I were a bee, I'd aim straight for the center of a dahlia.

I'd hide there in the midst of those petals until each fell off, slowly at first, and then all at once in the October wind, because dying flowers in October smell so sweet.

Noon-ish: Way Down Deep In The South, Where He Never Would Go When He Was Afraid

Today was a lovely day because I finally heard from someone I've been concerned about, and I learned today that my concerns were groundless; he is in Kentucky, breakfasting on plums warmed by the sun, left for him on the seat of his motorcycle by a fellow traveler, a kind stranger.

Thoughts After Sundown: An Argument For Peace

That's enough rejoicing for now. I leave you with this thing I learned about the male Betta fish.

I just read about Bettas on Wikipedia, because that's where my whims took me. You might know this: as soon as this fish spies another male Betta, its single purpose is to tear the other to shreds.

I guess Bettas were used in aggression studies back in the seventies, as a male Betta will try to murder even his own reflection; the researchers figured that a mirror doesn't have teeth, so when prompted to fight, a Betta attacking its refelected image won't be externally harmed. These studies were discontinued once the researchers learned about something internal; fighting causes stress, and stress decreases the fish's lifespan.

Anyway, I then read that presenting to a male Betta the image that makes it want to kill -- that is, tapping into the moment this fish seems to live for -- is the one stimulus that allows for these fish to succumb to conditioned behaviors.

But there's something in the findings I don't understand. The findings imply that Bettas derive pleasure from acting on their own aggressions.

The thing is, classical conditioning begins with an automatic response to a strong stimulus. We all know about Pavlov's starting point -- dog smells bone, dog salivates. Dogs derive pleasure from fulfilling their hungers. Here's another example of the kind of conditions necessary to allow for classical conditioning. I smell rancid cheese and I feel kind of queasy. Stimulus, response. I derive no pleasure from the smell of rancid cheese.

If someone wanted to condition me, they could play the gamelan every time I smelled rancid cheese. After a while I'd start feeling queasy every time I heard gamelan, because I'd been conditioned to do so. Just like dogs can be conditioned to salivate every time they hear the sound of a bell. They come to associate bells with bones. If a dog was pretty indifferent to bones or if rancid cheese smell didn't faze me, neither of us would salivate or feel queasy, respectively. In other words, creatures can be classically conditioned with much more ease when the creature has a strong response to something, whether that reponse is one of eagerness or loathing. So the only thing we can say for sure about the male Betta is that it has a strong response. Right?

As for these fish and their fighting, I wonder if the Betta that lives on after he's taken the other fish's life ever really recovers from his own injuries. And I wonder why they fight. I won't be satisfied with all that stuff about progeny. There's got to be more to life than that, I just know it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Struggle,

by which I mean the struggle to choose an appropriate screen saver for my dearest Matty, continues to this day, every minute of the day, and every minute I feel that I am older.

I submit for your kind approval several images that I think might suit, and any input from you would be greatly appreciated.

I : Yes, Suri, She's Our Baby!

When I consider the seven weeks I lived in tortuous agony without even realizing it because of the screen saver Matty left on my Mac, the first thing that popped into my mind was Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes. But even I have some standards, and this would be wrong. Because this is the stupidest photographic caption, ever.

II : Shrieking Clown

Has definite potential. . .

III : Heart-Rending Oil Painting Of Weeping Minority Child

I'm not sure, but I wonder if Matty would actually like this one and thus thwart me in my sharkhunt of revenge. . .

IV : Mommy's Little Personality Disorder

This one might prompt some interesting conversations at Sweet Inspirations. . .

V : When A Man Is Through Wrestling With The Problems In The Middle East, A Man Needs To Wrestle A Texan

Sure, it's funny when it's on a refrigerator magnet, but as a screensaver?

VI : Startled, Amazed, And Unrehearsed

As the Shrieking Clown has possibilities, so does this one.

These Days I'm So Burdened With Secrets

that at the end of the day, I'm weary.

And weary at the end of this day, I replaced the deadly surprise that was, seven weeks ago, my new tiled screensaver:

This is the vision that has assaulted my corneas for nearly seven weeks now.

Seven weeks ago, Matty had the image downloaded to my preferences and then onto the screen of my Mac. Those who met me in San Quentin know that seven weeks is no picnic. And so I struggle with the decision of which precise image I will download onto Matty's screen (I've narrowed it down to three choices) as soon as I get the chance.1

But then, for a moment, I quit struggling. And I consider that Matty loves this image almost as much as Barbra does. He graced me with it only because he thought it would enrich my life. So in a manner of speaking, it appeared on my screen not as the mere result of a google® search. No, it originated -- right in the most nourishing corner of my friend's dear heart. Then, buoyed by the warm wind of love, it sailed away to land on my desktop, germinate, stretch, and then burgeon onto my Mac, its blossom a starfish uncurling. I believe it was Barbra who sang that love is a many-splendored thing2.

Still, Matty's pretty dead set on the notion of me taking my laptop out on the town instead of composing here, in my chair3. The thing is, I don't adjust my beret just right and then set off to write in cafés, smoking cloves in long, peculiar holders -- I DON'T DO THIS in order that I will meet another gay man who has a sense of humor very similar to mine (there is none other). But this new screensaver would seem to imply just that to the many men who let their eyes slide up my legs before checking out my desktop. Nor do I want this image to blind every person in the Valencia district, where I imagine they would confront me en masse, angrily brandishing their white canes, and unburden me of my life's savings.

So I replaced it with the image of a man who wears his soul on his face like a sailor wears a beard. I'm speaking, of course, of My Future Husband.

Which leads me to my main point: Beck and I are running away to the Cayman Islands. We might be a little afraid to swim with the stingrays, but that won't matter, because together we will be looking at the viewer, soulfully, wearing our matching pea coats. And guess what! You can accompany us to the Caymans, where we'll live a life of adventure and coconut-splitting. Yes, we'll all be at peace because we (that is, you all, me, and Beck) know there's too much fighting in this world.

Please keep this news to yourself, and don't tell anyone that I'm too lazy to change my screen saver every two months. Unburdening feels absolutely wonderful. Don't, for god's sake, bum my high.


1Which I will.
2a many-tentacled thing, I would add, in the guise of a flower
3which is large, and ever-shifting, and full of beans

Speaking of Matty, you might want to scroll down to September 10th, because Matty does some fine writing on his BEST GAY BLOG!


Friday, September 08, 2006

What I Found One Night

when I was not bored, but curious, and found myself typing, then googling, "the internet is boring".


I'm not really back yet -- I'm enjoying my "vacation" and I'm still pretty dang busy with all kinds of things I really shouldn't admit. . .

But one more thing -- I found out about this great local band called The Finches, which, I have one of their MP3s in my sidebar, under "Noises". Give it a listen!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm Taking A Short Break,

like maybe just a few days, from blogging. I've lately been having all kinds of misunderstandings with all kinds of people and I'm under an awful lot of pressure right now. I've been communicating poorly, I guess, and I don't like what this indicates about my writing (or maybe about myself). I'll be back soon, but I need to hide out for a while. Ticharu, it's been way too long since I've visited you, and I'm sorry 'bout that, but it just so happens that now is my breaking point.

Everyone, please read the post below this one. I'll get back to you all soon.

Monday, September 04, 2006


This photograph was taken by Alan Kropp, who I met through a dear friend who worries about my eating habits1 . Before I riff on this photo, though, can I begin with Alan? Because I think a man's art is a function of his soul, so I want to start with what I can grasp of this soul because maybe that will help me to write about his art.Alan is a straight-up guy who'll tell you exactly what he thinks. Which seems to imply that Alan is talkative, but he's not. Alan is quiet and incredibly poised and what little he says makes all kinds of sense. He wears his beard short and well-trimmed, and he has the high forehead of a man who faces his fears, head-on. Philosophical, introspective, and I think kind of kinky, Alan keeps his cards to himself until he's good and ready to play them. You can see this in his eyes, which are always slightly unfocused though trained right on you -- Alan is deep in thought because he's really listening. He has a wide, round-toothed smile, so it's easy to imagine Alan as a five-year-old boy who liked to scribble in coloring books. Back in preschool, he was the kind of kid you didn't mind bumping into while playing musical chairs.

And now I turn to Alan's photo of a lone chair which was placed on some concrete access landings. The shade in this piece is dry and late-summery and bright, meaning there's probably a lake behind us, reflecting cold sunlight.

Now granted, an empty chair placed front of a wall is a lonesome image. Notice, though, the design of this chair -- it was ripped off from the crowded and social halls of academia. Probably by some B+ stoner who left it just as he set it down to gaze at the Big Dipper while eating a Hostess Fruit Pie. And the next morning some guy on the crew team discovered it and found the chair's west-facing position inviting. And since he was still young enough to believe that memories of rowing on lakes don't matter, he didn't rotate the chair to watch his team in their skiff but devoted his attention to a teammate or friend who sat cross-legged on the concrete and actually digs the poem they're reading for English 304 (something by George Gordon Byron).

But enough about the person who once sat in this chair. The point, here, is that everyone's absent and here at the height of the day they're either in class or skipping (e.g. in bed, alone or with someone else). We're viewing a moment between conversations rather than the conversation itself. Now that it's quiet, we reflect on what has just come to pass, and we speculate, and the picture is a story we want to tell.

Our point of view is that of the lake, lapping at the concrete. Does water aspire to make friends with boys? And now, alone with this empty chair, does it try to rise? I see longing, from a distance, and the desire to attain something that can't be attained. This photograph favors the chair, which, judging by its position, is a little indifferent. But that doesn't stop us from wanting it.

I'll bet some of you, if you happened upon this scene, would lie in the sun on one of those landings, leaving the wet print of your body. But most of you, if left to your own devices, would opt for the chair.


1as all good friends seem to do, but ginab & Matty, you really don't need to worry; In case you haven't noticed, I am a hungry person.