At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Monday, September 17, 2018


One can assume that my Friday, which is everybody else's Monday, is a bit different. The weekend is over, people are tired out from partying, gloomy because they have five dreary workdays ahead ..... and whatever drugs they're on, are a stronger dose. Some of them.

Tin foil hat Stevie was raging this morning. He plans to call Kate Sears (Marin County Supervisor, district 3), and give her a piece of his mind.
It's probably warm and wet, peculiarly shaped, and may be dripping.
It took half an hour for him to leave.

It's Marin, so she's probably quite familiar with his type already. Who knows, he may be a new soulmate for her. And they will be so happy together!
Even though he's a smoker and she's a raging healthfreak.
Opposites attract.

Today every third or fourth person was at least mildly afflicted.
It's Marin. Did I already mention that?

I should also mention that the bus driver on the trip back to San Francisco is a saint. The passenger who kept talking to him, and trying to offer him flowers, was clearly on something.

"I like black people; they make me want to dance!"

"Oh man, your voice is lovely, you are special!"

"Look at all these beautiful Asians here!"

"Bus driver, give yourself a raise."

"Lay it on my momma!"


"You must be so super tolerant, man, on this bus you got gays, straights, trannies, and Brazilians!"

From where I got on, all the way through Sausalito, across the bridge, and well into San Francisco, he gesticulated, exclamated, danced with stale flowers, and loudly, disjointedly, sang the praises of the bus driver.

It does NOT take all kinds, there are several we can do without.

Stoned hippy asshats are the first thing to get rid of.

They are irritating and they smell bad.

And might cause accidents.

What we need, however, and I think everyone will agree, is busdrivers.
Plus gays, straights, trannies, and Brazilians.

Are we on board with that?

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


Ah, the quiet of an apartment where not a single person watches sports. Neither of two single persons. My apartment mate does not watch sports, and I do not watch sports. When I came home, the television was off.

[She's asleep in her room right now. At least I think so. We haven't seen each other since she popped out to visit the bathroom before I left this morning. Light is on.
I heard someone say 'baa' as I came in. I made a sheep sound back.]

All day long at work the teevee was on. Some local numerical team did something astounding. There were cheers. And howls of approval or admiration. Plus grunting, cappuccino, and cigars.

For a while I watched footage of typhoon Mangkhut ripping through Hong Kong on one of the front computers. Floods, waves, construction cranes.

Much more educational than the numerical team.

The other day I asked someone if that photo on the wall of a business was taken from the Peak looking toward Kowloon. She didn't even realize that it was a picture of HK. The old airport (Kai Tak) was visible to the right, and Harbour City and the ferry terminal to the left. Other than the phenomenal storm that passed through several hours ago, the weather is not so different from ours right now. A bit warmer, a bit wetter. In the image I asked about, the skies were mostly blue, few clouds, sunny day.

Not in the typhoon footage.

It was very wet.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Both of them have been with me longer than my ex-girlfriend. Who is also still with me, because we share an apartment. She does not know that these two pre-date her, but it would make scant difference. She appreciates my loyalties, even when it comes to 'objects'.

One pipe dates from my teenage years, before my mother passed away, one pipe was acquired during my impoverished mid-twenties (expensive, lah!), several years before I met her.

I smoked both the other night outside 'The Bell', when it was crowded.

Smoking a pipe has become a solitary experience.

On Friday I enjoyed tobacco after porkchops for lunch, on the perimeter of Portsmouth Square where the old farts play cards. Non-smoking clean-living Cantonese retirees in the park, depraved tobacco afficionados outside.

Almost none of the old men on the perimeter know that I speak Cantonese. Most of the people who are aware of that are women: the ladies at bakeries, porkchop restaurants, and chachanteng.

And places where one can get something over rice.
Not strictly "need to know".
But close.

Apparently, all the women who work at a bubble tea place where I get coffee with sweetened condensed milk know that too.
Despite the that three of them I never met before.

Word travelled. Keui sik kong kwontungwa.

Informational: alone, smokes a pipe, speaks various languages.
Probably peculiar, but largely harmless.
Smells of tobacco.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Saturday, September 15, 2018


She came home at the same time as I did, informing me that she was on her way to get a haircut. And then announced: "but first, I pee". When I got to the teevee room and sat down, the internal monologue had started.
"And lo, she is peeing. Hark, she peeeth".
"The peeing nears completion".
"She has peed".

Storm surge. That being what a woman peeing always is. Unlike men, they are choosy about such things, and will hold it in until they find a secure spot.
Of which there are few in this city.

I can sympathize.

However, since the days when I worked at the Indian restaurant and did not trust anyone near the cash register, I can hold it in for over six hours. Easily. Unlike most women I know, who visit the powder room every two hours, and consequently never rough it, not even visiting the far wilds of San Francisco, where the possum and coyote roam. One would like to blame them for the smell of downtown, especially the Market Street area.
But that is not their fault.

In all honesty I do not know where women pee in this city.

Only one of them pees in this apartment.

If it were staggered, more of them could. And probably even over a dozen, if a schedule were posted and rigidly obeyed. Of course our water usage would go through the roof, which would displease my landlords.
However I think the facility itself could handle it.

Unless I meet the ideal woman, AND my apartment mate approves of her, there will be no invites.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Friday, September 14, 2018


As a hurricane batters the Carolinas, and a monster typhoon heads toward the northern tip of Luzon, and then on to Hong Kong, all I can think of is luncheon meat. In a tin. It isn't that I am heartless, hungry, and culinarily barbaric. Rather that canned meats represent security when disaster strikes as much as batteries, sturdy boarding, and bottled water.
Plus duct tape and binder clips.

The Bay Area counts as high ground when tropical storms hit elsewhere. Consequently many middle class white locals abjure tinned proteins.
"Why bother", they think, "when the sushi bar still has maguro?"

Then they casually puff a bit on their vape-pen.
While sipping chilled chardonnay.

Two doors up from the restaurant where I will have porkchops and rice for a late lunch one of my other favourite places offers fried luncheon meat and a fried egg with soup noodles for $6.50.

Chaan daan gong jai min

Two slabs of Spam. A fried egg. One packet of chicken or shrimp flavour instant noodles, and a little bokchoy (小白菜) or brassica (油菜). It's the breakfast of champions. As well as a quick lunch, dinner, and after midnight snack while binge watching a soup opera or boning for an exam.
It's got egg, got meat, and got vegetable.

Your mother might approve.
Soul food.

You needn't look so snooty. There are upscale versions. Long simmered pork bone broth with oil noodle or ho fan, and the tenderest baby mustard, plus a little black garlic oil. Even fresh shrimp.

Trust me, an entire generation of working stiffs, of all genders and ages, have grown up eating this. Some of them have prospered mightily, many others more have assuaged their grief over lost love or hard times, and countless school children have happily prepared it for themselves upon returning home, while their parents worked two and a half jobs each to eventually put them through college.

The reasonable alternative isn't sushi washed down with white wine.
Many of those people have never seen white wine.

Eat it.

Even if a tropical storm is not heading your way, buy a few extra tins.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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As naturally would anyone at around four in the morning, if they woke up after a five and half hour nap and it was too cold outside to go out with a pipe for the last smoke of the day, I ended up reading about the tupinambis. That being a large lizard which is "highly intelligent, becoming docile as it matures and even ignoring food in favor of social interaction". A description that matches some humans, this blogger included.
But refers to a reptile.


"Tupinambis hibernates in groups." That isn't me. Most humans smell bad.
"Males display large jowls along the lower jaw". Also no.

"Due to their fruit eating habit, they serve an important ecological function by dispersing seeds through their droppings."
I am sure that if I were running around naked in the forest this would be one hundred percent correct, but at present I live in a city.
"Metabolic changes occur during the reproductive season, when body temperature increases up to 10 degrees and is sustained internally."
This datum I have not observed in myself.
"Omnivorous -- fruit, fungi, various arthropods, small vertebrates, carrion, and eggs. The amount of meat decreases as the beast matures."
That is only somewhat accurate.

Further details:

"They are less well-adapted for climbing into tree canopies or for swimming"
"A bite from an adult specimen can crush human fingers"
"They can run on their hind legs"
All true.

They make rewarding, if somewhat exasperating pets.

They are very striking creatures.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018


Recently a good friend objected to an advertisement for a "groin deodorant" developed by a lady doctor so that one wouldn't be embarrassed when going in for a gyn exam. She suggested (quite authoritatively!) that if you bathed regularly and didn't have an active infection, you wouldn't need a deodorant, and found a lady doctor selling gyne-perfume to have a conflict of interest.

Naturally, I did NOT join in that conversation.

She studied medicine for years, and I trust her superior insight and knowledge, particularly when it comes to the female anatomy.

I know just enough about that, and no more.

Terms used included labia, hidden sachets of potpourri, that not so fresh feeling, and shitty doctors. All of the active participants were women. Which may not surprise you, but I would have LOVED to have the crazy old geezer who used to go to a local bar join in, as he was a gynecologist for nearly four decades. That he was gay as a rabbit had nothing to do with it, there were no causal links in either direction. But his mental state may -- or might not -- have been the result of staring at female bits for several decades.
A lack of perspective, shall we say.
Tunnel vision.

The reason why no men took part in that conversation is because, generally speaking, men don't ever discuss such things.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Wednesday, September 12, 2018


A friend is outrunning the hurricane with her cat and her lizard, while her husband is off gallivanting around Ireland on a work-related drinking binge. He's from The South, so he knows whiskey. Of which there may be some in Ireland. She's from the South too (as you would guess from my mention of a hurricane, because we don't have those here), so in her haste to depart she probably put a case of Bourbon in the trunk next to the pressed Virginias, before speeding off to Savannah with the feline and the reptile.
And the precious briar pipe collection.
His and hers.

So. Pets. Liquor. Smoking equipment. Stash of tobacco.
Sounds like the road trip of a lifetime.
125 mile an hour winds.

Comparatively speaking, my life sounds normal, almost placid. The worst that could happen here in San Francisco is a homeless person crapping in my neighbor's garage entryway. And then objecting to the smell of my smoking, because tobacco triggers him, it's so much worse than whatever else has happened in his life.

It's a question of priorities. I very much appreciate my neighbors hosing down the garage portal and driveway regularly, primarily because the water drains downhill toward the bus stop. I live uphill. And we have steps.

She's in Savannah right now. Where she hastily left from currently has a temperature of eighty five degrees Fahrenheit, and looks to be perfectly beastly for the next five days. Savannah is only slightly warmer, has a lovely Gothic cemetery, great food, and, crucially, no flood warning.

We are a balmy twenty degrees cooler. It's probably going to be great for the next week. No flood warnings on my block, no hurricanes ever. Perfect, in fact, for taking a dump on the sidewalk. If anyone felt so inclined.
Which, I'm sure, someone will.

Our cemeteries are NOT charming. We have street people and dogs.
And we object to tobacco, and me smoking it.
We are triggered!

Anyhow, while her husband is in Dublin enjoying the exquisite cuisine and bevandi of Ireland, and whooping it up with folks who talk like muppets,
I would advise Mary to explore what Savannah has to offer.
There are some mighty fine eats there.

309 W Congress Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-2111
High level soul food. Everything with bacon. Also risotto. Cocktails.

102 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31405
(912) 417-8887

12409 White Bluff Road
Savannah, GA 31419
(912) 330-6921

1801 Habersham Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 777-6286
American food.

105 East 37th. Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 236-5547
Georgia food.

201 W Bay Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 236-4440
Beer, hoppin' John, buttermilk fried chicken biscuits, sandwiches.

5515 Waters Avenue
Savannah, GA 31404
(912) 335-8146
Jamaican. Oxtails, curried goat.

1 West Liberty Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 200-4045
Burgers, po’ boys, beer.

23 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 232-4286
The best Southern food in Savannah. Full bar.

2410, 405 W Congress Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 238-1311
Colourful dive. Drinks, drunks, and, Saints preserve us, karaoke!
Pig's feet, pickles, and "Free Fried Chicken Fridays".

2740 Livingston Avenue
Savannah, GA 31406
(912) 352-3133
Crispy fish.

108 E York Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 443-9555
South African Cuisine. Boere wors in a roll.

It is unlikely that anyone goes to Savannah for dim sum or Thai food.
Much more research is needed.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Now it turns out that when you do amateur translating while having Hong Kong milk tea and an egg tart, you end up with a free Hong Kong milk tea and an egg tart. As well as a red bean paste moon cake with an egg yolk.
Which is very nice, but I did try to pay and turn down the moon cake, because I would have done it all for funsies anyhow.
What with being a show-off.
At tea time.

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節 'jung chau jit') is on September 24 this year. In the period leading up to it, mooncakes are all over the place. The supply tapers off afterwards.

Aside from numerous observances, one of the most enjoyable things is the common availability of such pastries. Which are about as thick as a good steak, and the diameter of a can of catfood. Usually round, sometimes square. They're filled with a sweet paste, very rich and delicious, and often have a preserved duck egg yolk for a yummy taste contrast.


So, for the benefit of Asian Americans who cannot read Chinese OR speak Cantonese, what with being from Shanghai or Taiwan, or tenth generation, AND those non-Chinese with open culinary minds who are not far from a Chinese bakery, here are some translations.

The most common types of mooncake:

純正蓮蓉月餅 ('juen jeng lin yung yuet bing'): no yolk lotus seed paste mooncake.
單黃蓮蓉月餅 ('daan wong lin yung yuet bing'): single yolk lotus seed paste mooncake.
雙黃蓮蓉月餅 ('seung wong lin yung yuet bing'): double yolk lotus seed paste mooncake.
純正豆沙月餅 ('juen jeng dau saa yuet bing'): single yolk red bean paste mooncake.
單黃豆沙月餅 ('daan wong dau saa yuet bing'): single yolk red bean paste mooncake.
雙黃豆沙月餅 ('seung wong dau saa yuet bing'): double yolk red bean paste mooncake.

[純正 ('juen jeng'): pure, unadulterated. 雙黃 ('seung wong'): two yellows. 蓉 ('yung'): hibiscus, Chengdu city; smooth confectionary paste. 月餅 ('yuet bing'): mooncake.]

Other types of mooncake that are well-known:

白蓮蓉月餅 ('paak lin yung yuet bing'): white lotus seed paste mooncake.
棗泥月餅 ('jou nei yuet bing'): red Chinese date paste mooncake.
五仁月餅 ('ng yan yuet bing'): five types of nuts mooncake.
金華火腿 ('kam waa fo tuei'): Jinhua ham with fruits and nuts.

Five less common types of mooncake filling:

芋頭 ('wu tau'): taro. 芝麻 ('ji maa'): sesame. 榴蓮 ('lau lin'): durian. 綠茶 ('luk cha'): green tea. 栗蓉 ('luet yung'): chestnut paste.


Note regarding that last one that 栗 ('luet') looks remarkably like 粟 ('suk'), which means millet, and is used for corn (maize) in Cantonese.
The difference is that while both have "west" (西 'sai') on top, the first has "wood" (木 'muk') underneath, the second "husked rice kernel" (米 'mai').
It's easy to misread or mis-write one for the other.


In addition to two deservedly famous and very excellent bakeries (永興餅家 'wing hing bing kaa', the AA Bakery on Stockton Street; 東亞餅家 'tung ah bing kaa', the Eastern Bakery on Grant) for Chinese style patisserie, San Francisco Chinatown is loaded to the gills with square four-cake tins from numerous other manufacturers, including several kinds from Hong Kong.

And surely you've heard of Wing Wah (香港榮華餅家有限公司 'heung kung wing waa bing kaa yau haan kung si') in the New territories?


While I was typing this, our landlady rang the doorbell. At present there are more mooncakes in this apartment than there were before.
They will be very much enjoyed.

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When I arrived at work, the UPS delivery man was ringing the doorbell. I let him in, remarking that the front desk person "normally" would have been there. Normally. "Don't you know", he said, "we're under attack". I had not watched the news before leaving the house. This was the first I heard of it. For the next three hours in between searching for further news about what was going on on my computer, I obsessively watched television in the conference room with the three other people in the office.

At around eleven I headed out. No point in staying, nothing would get done, everybody had gone home.

In Northbeach I spoke for a while with Mohammed and the Algerian at a hamburger joint, before heading up the street to visit Abdullah and his family. Abdullah's wife was somewhat panicky.
The others were disturbed.

Yes, everyone knew this wasn't another Timothy McVeigh.
And that had been bad enough, at the time.
This would be worse.

Over the next several weeks we read reports of Sikhs being attacked, a Yemeni gas station worker being shot at (photo of a depressed dude behind bullet proof glass that had held, when several rounds had been fired at him), random violence towards immigrants and people of colour (I say random, because clearly the perpetrators did not know their victims from Adam), and hatefilled outbursts from the very worst elements in American society (preachers, politicians, and rightwing pundits).

And, about a month later, the entire company sat down to a sumptuous Afghani lunch. When I suggested to the boss that that might be a good thing, and that a restaurant we both loved needed support, he agreed.
I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food.

Yeah, things did get worse. We've had to listen to a lot of bullshit since then, from hate-filled preachers, many politicians, and Fox News "pundits". And there has been a lot of flag waving by some of the worst elements in American society.

Also, we can no longer bring shampoo onto airplanes.
The horror, the horror.

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Monday, September 10, 2018


If Grandpa Hamster keeps whacking at you with his cane, that's because you threatened his little grand daughter, Clarissa. Who, rightly, said that you smelled "skeevy". The hamsters have good reason to distrust you.

If you don't like the hamsters looking at you askance, and all of us giving you the stink-eye, perhaps you shouldn't plot evil crap.

Above all, don't even think of kidnapping a little girl hamster.

Bad things will happen to you otherwise.

Suck it up.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Half past twelve at night, pipe loaded with Old Gowrie (a Virginia tobacco by Rattray), out on the street. M. comes down the block with her dog and her daughter, the latter in a baby carriage because she's now too heavy to carry strapped to M.'s chest. The kid is looking much more human now.

More personality, the intelligence apparent, the dark brown eyes focused and intent. A real person. Though barely two years old.

We exchange greetings and details. Yeah, the legs (me) are worse than ever, things are good (both of us), and the kid is on her husbands schedule (her).

Her daughter does look amazingly cute.

Say 'hi' to uncle Atboth.

Uncle Atboth.


Despite my age and crappy legs, I do NOT feel avuncular. I suppose when the kid is old enough to express herself I will have to be uncle-ish.
Might even be forced to make a stab at being an adult.

For which I'll need pointers.


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Sunday, September 09, 2018


In direct reference to paragraph 5.75.020 d ("findings") of the proposed new "chapter 5.75 of the Marin County Code", which argues that black people should not be allowed to make their own choices about tobacco, I must mention that more black people smoke menthols than any other flavour of cigarette. Black people in all fields of endeavor, black people all across the country, were asked "what cigarette do YOU smoke, black person?" Yes, the type named most was menthol. Why not change to menthols in the next thirty days, and see what a difference it makes in your smoking enjoyment?
Discover how mild and good-tasting a menthol can be!

On September 11, the Marin County Board of Supervisors will introduce an ordinance to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, absolutely no exceptions.

Marin County Board of Supervisors Meeting:
September 11, 2018
9:30 A.M.
Board of Supervisors Chambers, Room 330, Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903

Marin County Supervisors:

Damon Connolly
District 1
(415) 473-7354

Katie Rice
District 2
(415) 473-7331

Kate Sears
District 3
(415) 473-7331

Dennis Rodoni
District 4
(415) 473-7331

Judy Arnold
District 5
(415) 473-7331

If you meet them, talk to them.

PS.: A careful reading of their literature about the proposed addition to the Marin County Code would suggest that they also hate pipe smokers, the LGBT community, and young adults with mental issues. As well as Hawaiian Natives, Pacific Islanders, and Alaskans.

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Chinatown is filled with tourists. Many of them are either extremely callow youth, or their female relatives. Now, pimply and superficialist young people are self-explanatorily irritating, but their distaff-kin of any age tend to disturb me, because they weigh so much. I fear the pavement might give way.

Why are so many Americans large enough to equal both me and my apartment mate put together? Plus some? Considerably?

No, I'm not trying to "fat shame" y'all, but do you live on nothing but burgers and Cheetos? Seriously, if I were to try to asphyxiate any one of you, instead of a regular shopping bag (illegal here in San Francisco), I would need a compactor bag. With or without drawstrings.

Very very big bags of Cheetos. They come in 'jumbo size' (3 KGS), which can be bought in Mexico, because that's enough for a family.


To be specific: Dos abuelos, dos abuelas, dos padres, un tío, una tía, un par de niños, además de primos, sobrinos, parentes diversos, y un vecino.

Baggy grey sweats are not flattering, by the way.

I, too, like a good bacon cheese burger.

Made with lamb or pork.

Those have to be made at home, however, because almost every place where hamburgers are sold uses beef, or exceptionally, some vegetarian sawdust patty for the health freaks. Legumic, gluten-free.

The American Beef Industry has you all by the balls. They've probably laced the frozen burger patties with cocaine or sumpin' to keep you buying more.

Why don't you switch to carnitas instead? It's healthier for you.
Onion, salsa, guacamole, and a squeeze of lime juice.
On or inside hot tortillas de harina.
Plus some Cheetos.

For some reason, whenever I see you lot, I keep thinking of Cheetos.
Yummalicious cheese-y enriched corn meal.

Are there any questions?

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A few days ago I researched someone I know on Facebook. Snooping, yes, but he can do the same, and quite likely already has. The purpose was to see whether I might wish to "friend" him. Can he be trusted? Would it lead to greater understanding? Or, possibly, more bafflement and discord.
We don't agree on a number of things.

The gentleman in question is mentioned, though not by name, in this blog post from 2014: Ebola in Marin. He is, in fact, the chap I advised to add "are you bleeding from your anus?" to every conversation, every day.
Because the answer to that question might say a lot.
And prevent infection.

He's a decent man, and regarding chili peppers we are entirely on the same page. Plus I like his sense of humour, and the good natured squeaky sounds he made when I sprayed his bald head with foamy glass cleaner the other week and wiped shmutz off his pate. Yes, I left it shiny. I am thorough.

But I shall not Facebook connect. Among his "likes" are Fox News, The Eagles, Blue Lives Matter, baseball (a sport), and several semi-paranoid teevee shows I wouldn't watch with a ten foot barge pole.

He also likes Fox Mulder and Monty Python.
So he is, at least, semi-sane.

And yes, he voted for that man. So I won't trust him with more familiarity than he already has. We will simply have to share food snippets, Monty Python quotes, and film trivia, while sneering at each other's politics.

He's not a pipe smoker, preferring cigars.
Not that that's really a problem.
Many of my friends.....

Tatuaje Corona Gorda.

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After a five and a half hour nap upon returning home from Marin -- a nap that followed strong coffee and a thick slice of honey cake -- one wakes up refreshed, and goes onto the internet. The three most important news items are a giant military parade in North Korea, Serena Williams and her fans being petulant buggers, and Nicki Minaj fighting with Cardi B at a glitzy event in New York.

Firstly, I do not listen to either of the last two mentioned (I believe they are singers), and consider them the finest modern American womanhood has to offer. So my interest in them duking it out is less than minimal.

Modern American manhood: trolls living in their mothers' basements lurking in chatrooms, and acting creepy under assumed names. Plus video games.
Modern American women: big breasted hos fighting in public.
Possibly real housewives.

Tennis, naturally, doesn't interest me.

But that parade, oh boy.

Big, spectacular, an extravaganza!


环球时报 Global Times


World News

A massive display of precise coordination and choreography by cleancut upstanding people. Basically the political equivalent of Mormonism, in a modern metropolis that looks like a cleaner brighter version of Salt Lake City. On a beautiful sunny Sunday morning in September.

It's likely that Donald enjoyed every moment of it.

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Friday, September 07, 2018


My apartment mate spent close to two hours last night in front of her laptop reading the news and ranting about Trump, Sanders, Conway, Pence, and a host of other repulsive low-lifes. When she's in that mood, the atmosphere is tense. Halfway through I headed into the kitchen to fix myself dinner.

It was a dinner which showed better than almost anything else that I am a degenerate, and have the culinary chops to prove it.

It contained oil noodles, fresh ginger, curry paste, benincasa hispida, ghost pepper peanuts, broth, and Spam™.

Hawaiian Chinese meets Thai and Yucateco.
Not that that would be degenerate.
But I am white.

Mom said I should only eat food that has virtuous nutrients and vitamins.
Which almost everything in my Yucateca Thai Saimin was low on.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

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Thursday, September 06, 2018


Last night for dinner I had two mini mooncakes filled with wax gourd, sugar, wheat flour, water, and palm oil. And some Old Gowrie, which is Virginia tobacco in "a broken flake, spicy, yet noble", whatever that means.
It's from the manufacturers description.
And a cup of strong tea.

[Please note that the tobacco was in a pipe, smoked after eating the confections. Not in the items themselves. Like the tea, it added to an experiential taste gestalt, which was indeed very nice. But low on the nutrition totem pole.]

Let's see if tonight I can do better.

Actually, that also describes what I had for breakfast, seeing as I did not feel like going over the hill to Chinatown, but spent yesterday lazing about the apartment, in between little jaunts outside.
Two mini mooncakes.

Benincasa hispida, wax gourd, is known as winter melon (冬瓜 'tong gwaa') when mature, and fuzzy melon (毛瓜 'mou gwaa') or spring melon (節瓜 'jit gwaa') when young, and is used both as a tasty vegetable and as material for candy or preserves.

Soup can be made with it, either dinner soups with meat, or sweet soups with red dates (紅棗 'hung jou') and ginkgo nuts (白果仁 'baak gwo yan').
Even preserved egg, or shellfish. In any case very healthy!

The problem is that when I look into the vegetable bin right now, I see wax gourd there, in addition to hot green chili peppers. And I actually want something fried. Or perhaps pizza.

When you're cooking for only one person, everything is too much.
I bought wax gourd when I wanted a break from mustard.
A few weeks ago it was bitter melon.

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Constipation is when the lower intestine is so blocked as to prevent or delay passage of waste, causing discomfort, and when long lasting, presenting the danger of rupture, peritonitis, and death. It is a serious problem, and if recurring(!), modifications to diet and personal habits are recommended.

More vegetables, more exercise.

Less McDonald's, KFC, pizza, and Diet Coke. Cut down on the Big Macs, Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, and chocolate shakes, no well-done steak with a bowl of ketchup, and even avoid turkey with grits and hummus.

Twelve cans of Diet Coke and an egg McMuffin, no.

Rhubarb! Rhubarb is excellent!

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Wednesday, September 05, 2018


I've always found our displays of flag worship and patriotism rather silly. Which objectively they are. But I will accept that if you grew up encouraged to get your panties soggy at certain moments you may think otherwise. However, going from feeling minor discomfort to blistering outrage that our men in uniform are being disrespected (in your opinion) when athletes kneel for the anthem is a humongous stretch.

And, that said, some of our men in uniform are right bastards anyway. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Charles Graner, William Calley, and Bradley Manning come to mind. As should also the police officers who have shot unarmed people, of which there seem to be far too many to count, and more than enough to make the accusation of institutionalized law enforcement racialism hold water.

For that matter, how is passionately clutching your left tit while someone does a horrible rendition of The Star Spangled Banner in any way showing honour and respect for Americans who have served their country?

Funding adequate veterans programmes would do so better.

Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco might well disagree.
As would Francis Bellamy and King Zog.
We don't hold by them.

By the way, the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist who believed in the absolute separation of church and state.
Surely you knew this?

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There are three places where I shall never ever go again, because what they advertised as Hong Kong Milk Tea was unapologetically nowhere near the real thing. Which, given that every time my interaction with the people working there was entirely in Cantonese, they should have realized was a bad show.
A white person speaking Cantonese might know things.
Like when you're faking it through your teeth.


Hong Kong Milk Tea ('gong sik naai cha') is actually quite simple. As with many things, details matter.

Use a hefty measure of dark tea leaves, preferable Ceylon (斯里蘭卡 'si lei laan kaa'; 錫蘭 'sek laan') post-season picks (季後茶葉 'gwai hau chaa yip'), to which some Pu Erh (普洱茶 'pou nei chaa') and maybe also lychee black tea (荔枝紅茶 'lai ji hong chaa') might be added for depth and aroma, or, exceptionally, a miniscule quantity of rose tea (玫瑰紅茶 'mui gwai hong chaa'). Bring it to a boil, then simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes.

[Post season: picked after the rainy season (雨季 'yü gwai').]

After this strain it four or five times through a silk stocking (絲襪 'si mat'), which gives it the right mouth-feel, and put it on a low hot plate to keep it warm till needed.

The type of drinking vessel used is not so important, it could be a thick glass, or a ceramic teacup or coffee mug. But in all cases, the amount of condensed milk (煉奶 'lin naai') should be between one fifth to one third of the volume, depending on how sweet you want it. Let's say a quarter.
Add the dark hot brew to the milk, stir to mix.

The end result will be dense, fragrant, and smooth (香香滑滑 'heung-heung gwat-gwat').

NOTE: It isn't really a silk stocking, but a cloth tea strainer bag (絲襪茶袋 'si mat chaa toi'), often a foot long and narrower at the bottom than at the top where the wire loop and handle are. Fine mesh, thoroughly cleaned every three days because the tea-leaf particles tend to clog it. A good tea place will sew a new one every month or so, using medium density cotton fabric, rather than purchasing the ready made ones.

FURTHER NOTE: When you don't actually have real Hong Kong Milk Tea, fercrapsakes say so. Perhaps you ran out, or maybe you haven't a clue what we're talking about. Don't fake it with steaming milk and a clump of insta-tea, or mixing dregs with milk-powder, or even combining Horlicks, some watery cappucino, and a teabag. Neither of those two places on Grant will ever see me again, and I am happy to see that there is a commercial space for rent sign in the window of that rude oaf around the corner.

Oh, and please don't act like the request is an imposition.
You list 'Hong Kong Milk Tea' on your board.
And I paid for real milk tea.

There's one bakery I no longer visit, because since they changed hands, the excuse for milk tea is worse than ever before, the selection of baked goods is far smaller than in the past, and the regulars have all left.
But mostly, it's because of their milk tea.
Echt akelig, luitjes.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2018


Until today I did not even know they had a psychiatric hospital in Alameda County, where Oakland is located. I thought they simply let all the nuts run around free, like we do here in San Francisco. Or voted them into office.
But, thanks to Jennifer Schulte losing her sh*t, the existence of that excellent facility is now something of which I am aware.

The tape of Jennifer Schulte ("Barbecue Becky") calling to ask for police protection from people has been released.

I am blaming the blacks. If they would just stop being black, especially in public, Jennifer would still have the reputation of being a sane person.
There would have been no suggestion that she ever was, or possibly would be, in a mental facility. It's all their fault. Those black people.

Blackage, very obviously, is the problem.

Stop doing stuff when black.


As Rick James with his dirty cowboy boots on the couch proved.

He just looked straight into their eyes when he ground his dirt into the suede upholstery. Them darknesses held him down while they just whaled on his legs. Delirious mo***s, cold as ice, dark midnight evil! Black magic!

Becky called because people like Rick James need help.

We need a go-fund-me to help Jennifer Schulte get her life back together after all trauma and heartache she's been through, she needs help.
And Charlie and Eddie Murphy want a new couch.
Darknesses, bitch.

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Normally I don't eat breakfast, contenting myself with strong coffee, and a cigar outside the healthclub while waiting for the bus. The cigar will have been started while in the bathroom earlier. But today I woke up from a vivid dream involving hamburgers grilled to a medium, some with bacon and cheese, some without, tomato and pickles, ketchup, mustard (Dijon), lettuce optional, ninety six ciabatta buns, and Dame Judy Dench.
So I am enjoying imaginary cooking aromas.
A lingering ghost in the nose.

Dame Judy works in a burger joint.
Which is a very clean place.
And well-lighted.

The last time I had a burger was after Monzer ('Mike') Shawa died. He was the owner of Sams on Broadway, where the late night crowd would have a bite to eat in between stripping, pouring, or shooting up. Or after drinking. Years ago when I lived nearby I ate at Sams two or three times a week.
After the American beef industry got caught obfuscating about mad cow disease, I started eschewing their products, and consequently had not eaten beef since 2004.

The American beef industry, for your information, seems to be represented largely by lying sons of bitches in Texas.

Sams was the last honest burger joint in a city that used to have a greasy spoon on every block. Mike ran it like a home for the wayward, making everyone except the disorderly feel welcome. Cooks, ex cons, exotic dancers, painters, poets, faux intellectuals, retired Chinese gentlemen who just wanted a quiet six pack in the evening followed by a nap, a syphilitic Bostonian, short pugnacious little Italian men and a few nationalists from Balkan countries (playing cards together at the table in the back), Ah Choi gambling with the racist from Louisiana and methodically taking all his money, batshit crazy Helen who was convinced that Willie Brown and the NAACP had taken her mansion on Nob Hill and had had microphones embedded in her flip-flops, AND were sending wires into her spine, up through her mattress at the Sam Wong Hotel across the street .....

Anthony Bourdain ate there once. He loved it.

That's a damned good burger.

No, I don't know why I mentally placed Dame Judy Dench in a glorified version of Sams on Broadway. She'd make a great burger flipper, though.
It would be a fabulous movie.

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When Mississippi sends their people, they're not sending their best. They're sending rapists, they're sending people that have a lot of problems, they're sending drug addicts, criminals, and crazies. Some of them are probably good folks, but mostly it's trash. To whom, because they haven't funded mental health programs, they give one way tickets to San Francisco.
Just like Florida did a generation ago when aids hit.

And, because of that, there is a thin man wearing a canary yellow bustier, a medium blue teeshirt, and a bright red tutu in front of my doorway RIGHT NOW, fixing his bike. And angrily emoting.

He's from Mississippi. And I want him to go back.

Stop doing that, you Trumpite mofos.
Take care of your own damn' losers.
We. Don't. Want. Them.

Yellow bustier.
Blue teeshirt.
A red tutu.

You know, if the only natives of Mississippi I meet are addicts, that will influence how I look at your state and its people. Are they ALL scum? Diseased? Crazy? Desperate? Irredeemable wreckage?

Yellow bustier. Blue Tee. Red too too.


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Monday, September 03, 2018


This morning I spent an hour and fifteen minutes in the bathroom, with soap, water, a razor, plus coffee and a cigar. Seeing as on a day where she and I have off, it is the only place in the apartment where I can smoke.
A middle-aged Dutch-American goobus needs a smoking room.
And the temple of ablutories is perfect.
Flushing, ventilation.

As I stepped out of the shower, naked and glowing, I muttered to myself.
And realized that what I said was unintelligible.
To almost every one else.

"Je suis gonjeng. Bahut, bahut gonjeng."

Well, okay. Because when you talk to yourself you are still careful that what you say may be overheard. In very few instances one is truly guaranteed of absent ears, and, just suppose, you were walking down the street presuming no one was nearby, and you muttered in clear and distinct English "do you think Trump has nasty infected areas on his ballsack?" Because of course with his sexual proclivities and lack of morals, infection is not only likely, but considering his decades of dick behaviour, darned well guaranteed. First STD in probably in prep school. Half of the Republican Party in Congress had the clap by college in any case, and sometimes it wasn't treated for years. Several people named Bob still have it.

With bad luck, there's a Republican behind you.
Who considers the remark actionable.

"Benghazi, bitch!"

Republicans. Syph eats at the brain, so they just can't stop mentioning Benghazi. Simple thoughts for monodimensional minds. Benghazi.

That possibility means that even when you talk to yourself, you might phrase things in circles. The completely private post-wash muttering included three tongues, one and a half grammars.

And this, of course, explains why I was trying to get a dekista at three in the morning years ago. Plus other locutions.


If any Republicans reading this were, inadvertently, offended, please accept my sincerest apologies. So many, many polysyllabic words!

Just think about Benghazi for a few moments.
You'll be warm all over!
Or wet.

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A while back, because of her mom's health issues, my apartment mate's siblings forced her to get a cellphone. They set it up, and sprung it on her. Even though Mom died three or four years ago, she still has it. It has a most irritating ringtone, doesn't take photos, and is meant only for emergencies. Which every person who has been given that number would know.
I don't have the number, because I don't use cellphones.
There's a landline in this apartment.
And I never asked.

[People have strongly suggested to me that my life would improve immensely if I acquired a cellphone, why, the twenty first century would come up warmly dancing with pom poms! Or some such. People with Aspergers in the main do not use phones socially. Complaints, collection phone calls, and plumbing emergencies, are NOT social calls.
No matter what you have been told.]

This morning her phone rang.

She ran to her room to answer it.

Robo call.

In Mandarin.

"Yeah, I probably DO have relatives in China, but we don't know those people! Fry the bitches, fry them!"

So much for Chinese love of family. The robo call scammers have the wrong target. Yeah, she's Chinese, ethnically, but she was born here, her family speaks English, and her Daddy was Canto from Texas. And most of the Toishanese kinfolk in San Francisco to whom her Mom forced her to be polite were irritating countryside blisters who hadn't seen a rice paddy since at least the Eisenhower years. Any relationship with needy post-Mao relatives who speak Mandarin must, necessarily, be tenuous.

A phone call may not enter into it.

Last week I heard her telling a phone salesperson that before she would even consider new roofing for the rainy season, she would have to see some lobster. "Where's my lobster? I haven't seen a lobster in so long, so long!!! Well?!?" That call did not end the way the salesperson planned.
Lobster outranks corrugated polycarbonate.
"Oh go fry an egg!"

One of these days the Lobster Rights Board will angrily come looking for her, wielding The Giant Claw of Chastisement. She is a strongminded woman, so their asses will be buttered.

We share the kitchen, bathroom, teevee, and landline. And certain ideas and attitudes. But our social routines are separate, and we don't even know each other's work phones. If there's an emergency, we'll probably leave sticky notes on the table in the teevee room.

Don't call.

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Sunday, September 02, 2018


This blogger listens in on his fellow passengers with half an eye at best. Most of the time I try to ignore them, and zone out inside my head while traveling to work and back. Potheads, tourists, and very entitled residents of Marin. With the occasional screaming weirdo. Caramel and Cheddar Popcorn Mix. Sometimes teenagers with skateboards.

But this weekend was different. A whole bunch of drunken elderly people yesterday evening, coming back from a fair in Sausalito. And tonight, Germans trying to communicate with South Americans.

"You'll be okay when we get to a hospital, compadre!"

"Hospital?!? We probably won't even make it to the border! Those circling vultures are just waiting for the mules to die, and we're next!"

Traffic was horrid, and the ride took even longer than anyone could expect.
Conversations went strangely sideways.

"Don't eat too much of the salty nougat; it'll make you poo."

Thank you, I did not need to hear that. Could have survived the entire rest of my life without that datum.

I realized this morning that I do not particularly like my fellow humans. My standards aren't very high, but they're not even trying. After an extremely blistersome entitled old Marinite, I told my colleague Hector that I wanted to go back to my home planet, call the spaceship for pick-up.
Soon, baby!

He asked whether I was planning to do that today.
It would leave him in the lurch if I did.

A long foggy weekend makes many of these people mad. They're probably angry that they aren't at Burning Man. They could be naked and giddy.
But no. Fog.

Personally, I rather like this weather. It's been July all the way through August, and looks to stay like this for a while.

To discourage people, there really should be large signs planted along the highway saying "this is bat country, do not stop here!"

Das ist Fledermausland, hör nicht hier auf.


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In all honesty, the people who pour drinks in this city deserve more money, respect, and admiration. They are what keeps the city from erupting in fits of random violence and childish tantrums, and they make the police's jobs easier by being fair witnesses and inspired baby sitters. As well as gently letting your intoxicated ass know that enough is enough.

"I don't think you heard me when I said 'no'. It means 'no'."

As said by a steely woman, size small, to four drunken bros.
They had SO been looking forward to Manhattans! The Manhattan is, of course, beloved by every Bart Simpson fan, after that episode when he accidentally rolled down the stairs to the 'Legitimate Business Man's Club', where Fat Tony puts him to work mixing cocktails for the mob. A full shot of Bourbon, a little Vermouth, and a cherry. Shaken with ice and strained into a pantie glass. Bart Simpson is far more adult than the average San Francisco mid-twenties male.

Or mid-twenties female.

They kissed. They hugged. He tenderly stroked her posterior, she leaned against him, gazed up into his eyes, and softly, sweetly, vomited a full bucket-load into his open shirt. They were across the street in a doorway while I was smoking a pipe on my front steps after two in the morning.

At that hour I was still sober. One quick drink at the local, while out walking my non-existent dog. And a pipe filled with a rubbed Virginia of Scottish type made in Denmark for a German company.

My favourite drink, at that late hour, is a shot of strong coffee with ginger extract and panax notoginseng. It helps me sleep. But I have to make it at home, because bars standardly don't stock two out of three of those things, and have fairly shitty coffee in any case.

I cannot say that was the best smoke I've ever had. But it was probably in the top twenty or thirty, and made more memorable by the performance of many people a generation younger than myself, of whose futures I do not despair, because I am an unsympathetic old cock and consider them fairly hopeless.

"And she like, met a random guy who was super-douche ... "

Yeah, that sounds about right. They were probably a perfect match.

Nowadays I often take a nap in the evening for three or four hours before stepping out for a last smoke. My apartment mate does not like the smell of tobacco, and in any case watches the big breasted blonde slags of The Real Housewives in astounded wonderment at Caucasian behaviour in the early evening -- yes, my dear, they are white, like me, but no none of my people act like that; we landed here from a different planet -- and as both of our computers are in the teevee room, I am distracted from my important work (cruising Facebook for witty memes or news to be outraged about) by the quarreling vulgarity that entertains her Cantonese American soul.

For all of her years she is still quite innocent. Doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, and finds white behaviour both shocking and fascinating.

I am a jaded old pus, and merely repulsed.

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