Tag Archives: san francisco

In Which Irony Annoys Us

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San Francisco recently ran headlong into a coincidence which registered mightily on mrpeenee. For one, Blow Buddies, our most beloved sex club, closed after 32 years of splooge splashing, a great deal of which was mine. And for another, in the same week, San Francisco lifted the local ordinance that banned bath houses here.

A little background via the way back machine. Bath houses are sex clubs where gay men go strictly to have homo sex. Bars required meeting people and small talk and negotiating and learning people’s names and blahblablah. Baths were straight up walk into someone’s room and start fucking, which is why I found them so darned irresistible. R man said that when he lived here in the 70s, there were dozens of them, some of them specialized, like for fisting or guys with fetishes for truckers.

The tubs (as they are also known) were emblematic of the casual, easy, anonymous recreational fucking that defined a large segment of the gay world, but because of that, they were vilified by homos who wanted to be more accepted by straight society. “We’re not all sluts,” they would bleat, tears welling in their prissy little eyes. “I am,” I replied, as my friends and I lined up for another round of eager sodomites.

Ah, but then AIDS blew into town and suddenly there was a hunt on for somebody to blame, so of course, the sluts took the hit. A local gay reporter named Randy Shilts published a very influential book in the mid 80s called The Band Played On. Shilts was one of the assimilationists who blamed sluts for queer’s bad reputation and made closing down the baths here his mission. And he was successful. In 1985, San Francisco passed the law that forbid sex clubs to have private rooms with doors that closed, which pretty much define bath houses.

So that meant gay men stopped having sex and the AIDS crisis ended. Uh, actually, no. Instead, because gay men still demanded anonymous, no-fuss sex Blow Buddies opened in 1988, a sex club without private rooms and which forbid anal sex, the primary sexual way AIDS is transmitted. And lo, the sluts were joyful and sang hosannahs.

I’ve sung the praises of Blow Buddies before:

speaking of sex clubs, my all time favorite is here in San Francisco, called Blow Buddies.  It manages to bring together the two strengths of the gay community: sex and design.  Plus the music is good, so that’s actually three strengths.  But as to design, let us turn our attention the Milking Room, as our friends call it.  A largish room with a platform about waist high built around the edge.  The platform is equipped with a partition on the outer edge, pretty much chest high, with a hole in it, just the right height for someone, someone like me, to stick their dick through.  The genius is apparent when you realize this means someone else, again, me sometimes, standing on the floor of the room has their mouth at just the right level to suck on the cock thus presented, thereby avoiding the sad discomfort of kneeling all night for glory hole sex.  Genius.

R man and I were so fond of the old joint we wound up as regulars, going every Sunday evening as dependably as old Southern ladies going to church. Praise Lawd. And now it’s dead, done in by Covid and Grindr. I gave up all that sex foolishness a decade ago, but I still will miss knowing it was there providing a safe haven for all my cock sucking brethren. Farewell and thanks.

Did I mention our old chum Mikey is going to the beach?

In Turkey, where I imagine men look sort of like this.

I really like the wallpaper here.

Bath houses were noted for their plumbing.

And for comfortable places to lounge.

peenee Henge

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mrpeenee’s personal street light

My living room is a triangle walled in enormous windows which makes one more conscious (or as conscious as I ever am) of the light and the way it shifts and settles in the room.   I was wandering around the apartment in my charmingly vague way the other evening when I realized the setting sun had become perfectly aligned with those windows to shoot all the way down the crooked hallway that leads to the front door.  It was like something of out of Raiders of the Lost Something or the Other.

I know in New York a similar phenomenon of the setting sun lining up with the east-west streets is called Manhattenhenge, so I’m stealing that for my own little almost-solstice-but-not-quite celebration.  Since I ignore Christmas, it seems very handy.

I was going to try to take a picture of it tonight, but, of course, it decided to rain instead.  I’m all right with that.  After those weeks of choking smoke, having our brisk clean air back is an immense relief.  Plus, sitting up here in my aerie, looking down out at the fog settling on the tops of hills, the streets shiny with rain, The street lights and traffic lights all glittering and reflecting, and the pedestrians scurrying along with their floppy umbrellas, it all seems terribly cozy.  A ginger cat curled firmly up on my lap helps.

An added charm: the street lights here are old timey ones, cast to look like lanters.  I’ve always admired their solid 19th century charm and now I have one directly outside and I happen to be on the exact floor that puts the lantern part right out my window.  I think of it as MY  street light, much as a hooker chasing other bitches off her patch would.

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Let me reiterate: I like’em big and stupid.

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But having cozy little digs could only be improved by having more than a ginger tabby to lean on.

l’air

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I know when many people think of San Francisco and the sun we have, they have a picture of some Annette Funicello Beach Blanket movie bright, highly polished sunshine. And it’s true, we get that a lot, but even here, the light in autumn is a mellow, low gold.

Or it was until a gigantic wildfire settled in less than 200 miles from here and belched smoke all over us.  At the same time, the wind that blows off the Pacific and always blesses us with clean air has taken a break so the filth in the air just sits here.  Also, people have died, so it seems worse than cranky to complain about air quality.  Nevertheless, I will do so.  I haven’t been able to open the windows for a week without the apartment filling up with so much smoke, it smells like I have a small campfire burning in the living room.  Going out for a walk chokes me and makes my eyes run like a faucet. Some people react to this by wearing masks.  I’ve seen everything from a bandana tied across some guys face up to respirator kind of equipment they use in car painting shops.

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Saki deals with the emergency.

The local news about the fire always contains some boiler plate kind of language about dealing with it which always warns if you are over 60, have a compromised immune system, or have a history of pneumonia or bronchitis you should just huddle indoors.  I go through that list and think “Check. Check. Check.”  Still, eventually even a shut in like me has to venture out.   So, in just a minute, I will be heading out for coffee with our old friend The Fashion Sensation.

Maybe I can hold my breath.

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Or just turn my face to the wall.

 

I Feel Moved

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So at long last , after a series of crises that would have knocked the shit out of Job, I have triumphed and am not only living in my lovely mew apartment, but have just finished the long anticipated last haul.  Considering I started this process on April 5th (my birthday, sweetly enough.)  I don’t think I have ever been so physically exhausted and at one point during what turned from moving from simple relocation into some kind of  Death March, Super Agent Fred confided to our friend he had never seen me so stressed out.  And this is a friend who saw me through the dark days of R Man’s dying and death.

It was bad and one day I will recount the horrors.  let this stand as a symbol: yesterday (I think it was yesterday, it’s all a blur) I was stuck in very slow bumper to bumper traffic on an of ramp and briefly just dozed off.  I was awakened by the thud of my bumper hitting a very nice young woman who has since texted me and said there was no harm, so don’t worry about it.  I did not reveal to her that as son as I realized I had hit her, all I felt was a mild annoyance.  “Oh christ, not one more thing” was pretty much my whole summation of the event.

So anyway, here’s a picture of my new apartment with me,more or less conscious.

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I’m flying.  You need to imagine it without the cast collection of lampshades.

I’m sorry, I will write more soon, but I am beyond exhaustion. I am running on nothing but frazzled nerves at this point.  Look for scintillating insights and random punctuation soon.  Very soon.

Also, a naked youth

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Spring Break

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We interrupt mrpeenee as we do just about every year around this time to announce the Spring has arrived in San Francisco.   Each year we try to make the announcement with a cheery demeanor that manages to hide our smugness and each year, we fail.  Nyah, nyah, nyah, snowbound motherfuckers.  There are justifiable reasons why it costs so goddam much to live here:

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armies of cute boys,

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and a springtime that is what poets fumble around trying to describe.

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The cherry trees (and flowering plum trees, I can’t tell them apart) are the first outliers of the season and I shot these in two blocks of 18th Street.  Multiply that times the whole city and you get an idea of what I’m smug about.

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One great disappointment was this tiny cottage which has been a source of delight for years.   Since we first got here, the house was painted a soft pink and a medium sort of burgundy.  It was a fine color combination, no big deal, until the cherry trees in front of it bloomed and they were the exact same colors as the house.  It was amazing.  As a house owner and a gardener, matching the two seems like such an appealing idea, but I know how hard it would be to pull off.  Getting an exact shade of paint is almost impossible, getting TWO is a miracle.

And now, some idiot, who probably bough the house when the trees were out of flower, has painted it brown.  Just brown.  Too add salt to the wound, one of the two trees appears to be dead.   Possibly out of color-related grief.

Also a shame is that for some reason, Asian magnolias, which were also a harbinger of springtime and which were very common around town, seem to have sort of vanished,  This time of year, almost every block seemed to have one or two and now I don’t see them anywhere.  Golden Gate Park had a huge collection of them, including some from the Himalayas that were 50 feet tall.  The Arboretum, which housed most of them, moves things around a lot, to keep it fresh, a few years ago dug up a grove of them.  Mistake.  The grove was an example of how many varieties of them there are and I always thought it was charming in spring, the big pink and purple and white blooms on the bare branches; just lovely.

Still, I need to go out to the park.  Even a shut in can appreciate the beauties of spring.

 

It’s the Weather

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I been trying to scrape up the energy to post something, but energy seems to be thin on the ground these days.  Mostly, it’s hot.  I know my readers everywhere but here have been dealing with the atmosphere turning into something like a slow roasting oven, but this is San Francisco!   We do not do hot weather.  It is an outrage.  Records all over the place being broken, with temperatures over 100, which is something in Celsius, who knows?  It is fucking hot, how’s that?

My house has no air conditioning, which is pretty much never a problem, except when it is.  Like now.  How I hate to climb into a bed with the sheets already warm.  And only a sad fan huffing hot air around like that helps.

Last night, in the middle of sweating and being grouchy, I suddenly smelled smoke.  Wildfires are all around us and smoke has been kind of a background scent for weeks, but this was, suddenly, much stronger and getting more pungent fast.  More neighbors and I gathered in the street in this vague sort of way, asking each other “Do you smell smoke?”  I think if I had announced “No, I do not” in a firm voice, everyone would have just said “Oh, great. Thanks” and wandered back home.  Instead, I said, I was calling the Fire Department.  There was a sense of great relief.  Turns out no one wants to be the one to deal with bureaucracy, but I worked for the government my whole career.  Bureaucracy is my home turf.

So I called and the emergency operator was incredibly chill.  Speaking with her was like tuning into the Mellow Jam Hour.  Eventually the firetrucks rolled in, one on each end of the street, cause apparently someone else called and one end of the my street is one fire station and the other end is another.  Fine with me, they were as cute as the cliché.  When you apply to be a firefighter, do you have to send in a headshot?

The tromped through my house, complimented me on both my decorating and my garden (this is so San Francisco) and poked around in the brush that fills the canyon behind me.  We all agreed, yes, you could smell the smoke (which made me feel better; at least I’m not crazy in that general direction,) the short cute one said “It doesn’t smell like   a brush fire, it’s too sweet.” “Like cedar” I said and he agreed with charming enthusiasm.  If it got any more gay cozy, we were all going to have to plan brunch.

 

 

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I swear, this is what showed up when I called 911 for the fire truck.  I may have to set a fire out back myself.

We went back out front and the  truck from the alien firehouse came down to chat with their fire man buddies (probably planning brunch) and eventually toddled on off.  The smoke faded, still with no cause, and the cat and I went back to watching porn.

The hot weather finally broke around dawn, but the huge fire down in Los Angeles has already made its way up here and is making my eyes burn and my sinuses dribble down my throat.  I’m slowly drowning in my own snot.

On to more weather news, but this without humpy firemen.  My father, my remaining brother, 5 of my nephews andneices and their nigh countless children, all still live in Houston, where a no-big-deal hurricane hit late last week and then stalled and dumped an astonishing flood.  More than 50 inches in one day.  San Francisco’s annual rainfall average is less than 24 inches.

My brother and I have been texting, him airily assuring me everything’s fine, which is what everyone in my family says right up to the point when they have to scramble out of the kitchen window to escape.  When I was in high school, the morning I was supposed to leave on our senior trip, our neighborhood was so flooded, my neighbor and classmate Stephanie and I were ferried out in a National Guard truck.  We made quite an entrance at school that day.  And then Stephanie and I went off to the beach for the weekend, leaving our mothers behind to cope.  But they were tough old Texas gals, didn’t bother them.  Probably glad to be rid of us, they spent the day drinking beer and watching to see if their houses were going to flood.  The houses didn’t, but they did run out of beer and so they talked the National Guard guys into giving them a ride to the liquor store.

Now that, motherfuckers, is Texas.

Bloody Moon

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And you know what else?  Living in San Francisco means not only that we’re the center of the disaster movie universe, but also that the tattered remains of the hippie era refuse to die here.  Proof?  Sunday evening was both a Super Moon (a full moon with “the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth,” thank you Wikipedia, and a term I never remember running into until recently and now which seems to turn up as regularly as a Dame Edith Farewell Tour) and a full lunar eclipse, a so-called “Blood Moon” because of the red color it takes on.  Naturally all the hippie-wiccan-Burning Man types and others who don’t keep their pubes trimmed were wild for the prospect.

This being San Francisco, the fog blew in right at sunset and obscured the whole thing.  All the pagans were terribly disappointed, poor dears.  It’s just as well, I had planned on sacrificing a goat, but they were all sold out and Saki absolutely refused to cooperate.  I had hoped that the ceremony might help unload my house in New Orleans which STILL has not sold.

What is wrong with these fatheads?  It’s a great house and I’m throwing in all of my exquisite taste that I lavished on the dump for free.  I don’t know, I suppose it’s just bad moon ju-ju.

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Goats. Never around when you need them.

Cinematic Outrage

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My dears, I return after far too long away to report on the movie San Andreas, a film that features the destruction (again) of California (mostly San Francisco) and Dwayne Johnson’s titty muscles in about equal parts.  Mr. Johnson’s chesticles are well worth spending the time with and the earthquake/tsunami destruction is most charming, although whenever the “actors” slowed down to deliver the “dialogue,” things really hit a rough patch.  The sight of Johnson effortlessly boating about in a debris flooded financial district was worth the price of admission all by itself.

Equally amusing was the lighthearted attitude the movie makers took towards San Francisco geography.  Characters start out on one side of downtown, emerge seconds later clear on the other side of town and then announce they have to go to Chinatown to casually loot an electronics store because, I don’t know, there weren’t any downtown?  I’ll never know why because they then decide to take a walking tour of the most inaccessible hills around here, part of which included a jaunt up Russian Hill, completely off any sensible route, but coincidentally right outside of a building I used to live in.  “Hey I used to live there!  Cool, huh?”  What better review could a film ask for?

Also Dwayne Johnson and his mantitties, in order to get to Coit Tower, parachute into the ball park, which is about as far from Coit Tower as you can get without leaving town.  Why?  Who knows?  I had stopped trying to figure that out by then and they hadn’t even wiped out Golden Gate Bridge yet, an absolute requirement in any San Francisco based disaster; you just sit there waiting for it to finally happen.  I have to say, having seen the bridge go down more times than a power bottom in a gay porn festival, this was a particularly satisfying collapse.

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Also, Dwayne Johnson in a series of tight shirts.

Everybody Needs Friends

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I enjoyed a very amusing weekend with our beloved Diane von Austinburg (aka “Sqweetie” aka “Snarkina”) who blew in town to see my new house here and to support my effort to eat my weight in shrimp.  Infuriatingly, many of my favorite restaurants celebrated the Fourth of July by closing down.  Who gave them independence?  God love Diane for putting up with my dithering pretty much the whole time she was here about whether to sell my house in New Orleans or the one in San Francisco (and believe me, I understand that sentence wraps up “White People Problems” pretty neatly so there is no need to bring that point up in comments.  Shut up.)

The problem of course is that each city is irresistible.  I know how incredibly lucky I am to own a house in each, I just can’t afford them both.  San Francisco is rich, smart and beautiful, New Orleans is like the terribly charming boyfriend who drinks too much and is always on the edge of going to jail.

As I kept whining to Diane, I am unaccustomed to indecisiveness, since being simply arbitrary is part of my charm, and waffling back and forth between the two was just irritating.  The last afternoon she was here I finally landed on staying San Francisco and letting go of the place here since who in their right mind would surrender San Francisco having worked so hard to establish a toehold there?

Also aiding in the decision was the simple fact of living here for last month has vividly reminded me what a wet hell a Gulf Coast summer is.  Plus, every major street in town is ripped to shreds as the city has leapt into the only attention they’ve paid to the infrastructure since I lived here in the 80’s.  Driving is crazy-making, a series of spirals into hell.  I was foolishly trying to get just to the other side of downtown with Night is Half Gone’s Jason and at one point had to ask “Am I in a lane?”  The only possible answers were “I’m not sure” “Sort of” and “No” and each were equally correct.  I don’t want to live some place I can’t navigate.

Mostly it was a simple case of Diane asking astutely (and no doubt worn out by my whining) “Which one is home?” to which I promptly replied “San Francisco.”  And so it is.

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And I need to get back to my evil little cat. I know this looks like he’s sort of dead, but Secret Agent Fred swears he’s just rolling on the floor. I think I should go see for myself.

License to Thrill

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I’ve struggled to come up with a post about going down to the DMV office to renew my driver’s license, but there’s only so much my genius can do to turn something that mundane into anything better.  Was it hellish?  Don’t be ridiculous, it was tedious.  Were there crazy guys in line with me who had straw in their hair?  Of course there were, this is San Francisco.  It was, as our friend John pointed out , the only place were everyone has to interact with everyone else; no cuts for you just cause you’re a rich white Lady.  An hour and half, and I was in and out, not hilarious, but not as bad as trip to the dentist.

Instead, let us turn our attention to the benefits of a good facial mudpack.

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Before

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After.  Worth it, right?