Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oh How I Wish to Live Alone Again

Normally I am a pretty peaceful guy. I don't like to get angry and I especially don't like to argue. I also take pride in the fact that I can handle almost any type of personality and communicate effectively. Unfortunately, today I was not at my best.

My morning started out a little rough, however, I received some great personal news and was enjoying the San Francisco weather and skyline as I made my way back up the hill to the apartment. While I wasn't entirely looking forward to coming back to the pad I was at least content that I had someplace to go at all.

But it wouldn't be long before my blissful walk home and entrance into the apartment would all be for naught and my mood would turn from contentment to disdain in seconds flat. It was the roommates. I hadn't even had a chance to put my things down and take off my shoes before I was backed into the corner of my room (well...actually I am staying in the living room but you get the drift) by my shy, yet aggressive Korean roommate. Apparently their fears were confirmed when they received word that the missing roommate was not missing after all, he had skipped town and left them with the bill and some of my money as well I might add. All of a sudden the amount of money that I had agreed to pay was doubling and tripling right before my eyes and I didn't know what to do. I was angry at the roommate for getting in my face and I was angry at the other guy who skipped town with my money and theirs. Frustrated to no end I had to walk away and ignore the incessant nagging from the Korean guy to pay him more money as soon as I could. It wouldn't be long before I would wrap my hands around his neck and choke him if he didn't turn around and walk the other way.

Now a few hours have passed and I am a little calmer and at peace about whatever the hell is going to happen next. I am also happy to say that no roommates were harmed, Korean or otherwise. And now...I think that it is best if I take a nap and hopefully wake up in the new year with fresh perspective and clarity. Onward!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It Ain't Paradise...But it's Dry

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I arrived back at the apartment that I am going to be crashing at for a little while and was greeted with total chaos. The walk from the Ferry Building through Union Square and up Lower Nob Hill caused me to sweat even though it was raining and all that I really wanted to do was rest. However, when I opened the door to the unit, I was greeted by this French dude wondering who I was. I finally convinced him that I was allowed to be here and that I indeed have a key to the apartment and the electronic front door. Soon, the other guys came out of their rooms to assure him that everything was okay. Once we had finally finished our introductions and everyone was calm again, they wanted to know if I had heard from one of the other roommates, the one who's name is the main name on the lease and basically, the one with the majority of income. I hadn't.

This roommate had left for Los Angeles and was supposed to be back in San Francisco over two days ago. He hadn't responded to multiple text messages and phone calls so the other guys were starting to get worried. Luckily, they don't know that my name is not on the lease so if the shit hits the fan, the only thing that I lose is a place to stay. I feel bad for the guys but I don't know what to do or what to tell them.

One of the guys, Daniel has even gone as far as trying to get this other roommate's family number to track him down as they are worried that he has skipped town leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab. Last night I was able to calm the guys down yet again and tell them not to worry as there was nothing that we could do at that point and that we could worry in the morning if there was still no word.

All in all, however, I was completely fine with him not being here last night as I was able to have the room to myself. There is no furniture, no bed and I have no pillow. So just like it was for me in the streets, I made up camp in one corner of the room...but this time I was able to huddle next to a warm space heater and sleep peacefully. I was at least thankful for this as it rained heavily all night long.


I have had a few requests to see this apartment where I am staying and while I do not want to show pictures of the inside...I will allow google maps to show the exterior.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back to Reality and Back to the Bay

I can't believe that I have spent the last six days in the small little town that I grew up in. I vowed to never come back to this location but now I don't want to leave. Looking back, while I spent a majority of my younger years not far from this house that I have been staying in, it wasn't until much later that I actually began to grow up. Hell, I think that I am still growing up even at the age of 32 and continuing to find myself. Maybe I will never truly grow up because just like my good writer and reporter friend Eric, we both don't do well with following the rules nor doing what it traditionally accepted in American society. However, having said that...I have had some of the most relaxing, invigorating and loved days in my life here and I am truly sad that I have to let it go and move on. My gracious hosts have been more than amazing and have made what would be a completely lonely and hungry holiday season for me a truly blessed experience and I am forever in debt to them. I was able to experience a merging of family and friends regardless of tradition or belief and just simply enjoy each others company.

But alas, I must make my way back to the city that I do truly love more than any other place in this world and continue to walk my path alone. I know that when I hear the sounds of the honking cars, the silly tourists gawking at cable cars and bridges, and the ambulance and police sirens, that I will sigh with relief with a confirmation that I am where I need to be.

Tomorrow, I will take the train or hitch a ride back to the bay...whichever is easiest or cheapest or quite frankly, the most interesting and go from there. For the time being I have a place to sleep, I have my laptop and I have some clothes. I guess that I can't think of much else that I would need at this point because I am happy for what I have no matter how minuscule it may seem. A lighter backpack, some nice cheese and a bottle of wine would be nice though but I really can't complain.


So I am going to San Francisco...I'll be sure to wear some flowers in my hair. To all of my friends whether I have had the chance to meet you or not...peace and blessings be upon you.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


For the last few months I have found that as soon as I get one bit, one glimpse, one ounce of comfort and familiarity I completely shut down and am no longer productive. This is not to say that I prefer discomfort and pain over comfort and health hoping that I might be completely devoted to my passion and my path though. The problem is that in these moments I am allowed to be complacent for a short period of time and in these moments I feel safe. However, it is also in these moments that I often fail to create.

Living day to day, one day at a time and not always knowing where I am going to stay or where the money is going to come from so that I can buy food and pay for shelter is often trying. While most might think that this is the perfect opportunity for a writer to write, often times, life becomes too difficult to handle and the pen and the paper are neglected. Something has got to change if I am truly meant to make this work. I know in my heart that I have to.

My new years resolution this year is to focus. I can't remember the last time that I have actually made one of these silly resolutions, however this year I am confident that I must.'s so simple...just focus...

Friday, December 25, 2009

All Hollowed Christmas Eve?

After a very enjoyable evening of writing and watching old movies on television while house sitting for my friends, Christmas Eve turned into Christmas morning and it was time for me to go to bed. Seems pretty normal right? Well, it is except for one aspect that I had completely forgotten about once I had brushed my teeth and climbed into bed. This house is not only inhabited by my friend and his wife but several other spirit world type entities. Now normally I would be skeptical about such phenomena, however, while staying her previously I have heard the noises. Some of their friends vowed never to sleep here alone because they feared a possible encounter.

I wasn't afraid because I was told to just ask them to let me sleep if they became too loud and that eventually they would go away for the night. But when I immediately got under the covers, the noises began. I thought that if I just waited it out until I fell asleep, they could make all of the noise that they wanted and it wouldn't matter because I would be in slumberland. Unfortunately, this didn't happen and they would not listen to my pleading to shut the hell up so that I could go to sleep.

Finally, after a few hours of waiting I eventually fell into a deep sleep but not deep enough as to prevent me from having some pretty vivid nightmares. My body began to heat up and I was perspiring heavily. In my dream I was brought back to sleeping on a bench in the city and while before I was cold this time I was incessantly hot. I was wearing a button up shirt that I had forgotten to change when I went to sleep and in my dream while trying to sleep on the bench I was so desperate to cool myself down that I ripped the buttons off my shirt just like the Incredible Hulk might have done in the movies and then pulled off the buttons on the cuffs as well until I was free. I felt a rush of cool air but kept the shirt close to me almost as if I was using it as a blanket, but in my mind, I told myself to keep it close or someone might steal it from me. Some time passed and I became more conscious and realized that I could feel softness beneath me and the bed became a reality. Once I knew that I was indeed laying in a bed and not on the bench, I slowly remembered where I was and then noticed that I wasn't wearing a shirt any longer...just like in my dream. I sat up immediately and turned on the light to inspect and sure enough, I had ripped every button off of my shirt rendering it virtually useless.

I'm not sure why I had such a vivid dream and why it brought me back to the streets when I was clearly in a nice, warm and comfy bed but it scared me. So between the spirit people making all kinds of noise and my strange reality-driven dream, my Christmas Eve was quite interesting. Luckily I was able to go back to sleep once the sun had come up and the ghostly guys went to sleep themselves. Now it is time for me to reflect, write and enjoy the nice weather and holiday cheer with the lights on.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


For those that know me well, they know that I don't really celebrate the holidays. I don't dislike them, I have nothing against them and I have very fond memories, especially of Christmas when I was young. However, for some reason over the years family members became emotionally distant and geographically further away from each other. Eventually Christmas and Thanksgiving seemed just like any other day for me and for the most part I am honestly okay with this. But, there are some times when I do miss the merry-merry and the warm holiday spirit because I often don't feel like I have anyone to really share it with. These feelings are rare though and usually happen when I see the families and couples ice-skating in Union Square or the snow flake Christmas lights on lamp posts downtown. I usually snap out of it though when it becomes impossible to walk down the sidewalk congested with cranky, pushy touristy shoppers.

But this year is different for me thanks to a dear old friend and his wife and family. I mentioned early that they had opened up their home to me back in my old home town but I had no idea how much comfort it would bring to me. I am truly thankful for every little thing that I have experienced thus far and I hope that they know this. I wish that I could give them all great, big, expensive gifts.


This evening, I am watching over their house as they head over to their mom's to get ready to open the morning presents. I am sitting in the living room, admiring their amazingly decorated tree and watching my all time favorite movie Swingers. I feel loved, content, warm and all merry-merry again. I couldn't think of a more perfect way for me to spend the evening tonight. I hope to get some personal writing done as I have been in survival mode for too long lately to progress on any of my projects. I feel hopeful tonight and I am going to let that feeling dwell in my heart and my mind for as long as I can.

To all of my friends: whatever holiday or tradition you are celebrating or not celebrating...I wish you the best as well as a happy new year. Peace and love. Om Om Om.

P.S. Their cat Tuggs is finally starting to warm up to me...maybe because she knows that I will be the one feeding her in the morning.

P.P.S. You're money.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

You Can Leave...If You Want To Leave...But I Won't Follow...Just So You Know

I feel that I need to need to explain some things before I continue posting. Something is telling me in my heart that I need to share more than just the superficial things that are occurring on a day to day basis in my new life.

First of all, I must explain the title of this blog a little further. Some have interpreted it as being a declaration of my distaste for actually working or being gainfully employed. This is the farthest from the truth as I am constantly working, just not in the same way that I guess would fit into what is considered a traditional societal norm. It is not that I feel that I am too good to work at at restaurant, pick up trash or even answer phones for some executive officer. I have done all of these types of jobs in the past so they are in no way beneath me. However, having said that...I have been there and done that and for someone who is a self proclaimed creative junkie...I just can't do it any more. My good friend Eric, who is also the creative type once put this type of personality very nicely when describing himself. "I just don't follow rules very well," he said. I am the same way and do things on my own whether they are the best decisions or the worst decisions. They are indeed my own triumph or demise to experience and no one else. I understand that this is hard for many to understand and normally would not attempt to explain myself, however, I thought that it would be fitting to do it this one time.

Okay...enough of my disclaimer for now.

It is now nearing the Holiday and for whatever holiday you are celebrating this time of year, I wish you the best. Today I took a train further North to stay with a friend and his wife for the next few days. They have graciously opened up their home to me and included me in their family tradition this holiday. While I don't celebrate any holiday religious or otherwise, they have included me as one of their own. I am actually at a loss for words when it comes to describing the feelings that I am having regarding their generosity. I know that they understand how grateful I am to be able to spend these cold few days with others rather than by spending it all alone.

I'm tired from all of the traveling and new surroundings, however, tonight...I am going to enjoy the beautiful Christmas tree in front of me, good friends, and good food and bring in the new year just right. I'm thankful. Peace and love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Temporary Next Move Proves to be a Little More Stable

The last couple of days have been somewhat uneventful but very reflective as well. The hostel that I stayed in for two nights wasn't ideal, but it wasn't bad either. The only problem was that I was on a completely different schedule than everyone else there and was staying there for completely different reasons. The Korean guys that were in the room the first night were kind enough, however, I had no idea that they had planned to leave the hostel permanently early the next morning. I didn't get much sleep due to excessive snoring and chatter the entire night so when I finally did get to sleep, I was brutally awoken by their hasty packing. They also had no concept of "quiet" voices when someone else was trying to sleep in their immediate vicinity. When they had finally finished and left the room, I couldn't understand why it was still so noisy. Turns out that they had left the door open and everyone else in the hostel were busy going about their business, all with perfect view of me lying in bed.

I then finally was able to fall asleep and it was good sleep, the kind where you dream in technicolor and feel completely at peace. That lasted only an hour or so though, when two very loud German guys came into the room to unpack, also with no concept of the "quiet" voice. I was so thankful when they finally left that I ended up sleeping until about noon before I felt completely rested.

For the most part, during my stay at the hostel I spent the days outside people watching and admiring the amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and of Alcatraz. There were so many people outside, walking, running biking, and playing with their dogs (Note to self...come new year, you are going to start jogging again). The Cypress trees remind me of my grandfather and for some reason I have a feeling that he would be proud if he knew about what I was doing and what I am going through. At least that is what I am going to think from now on.


After another sleepless night (turns out the Germans snored louder than the other guys) I made my way back towards my old neighborhood and moved what little belongs I have been carrying on my back into the living room of an apartment where I will be sharing with five other guys. It's not ideal, I don't have a bed, and it's way too crowded. But anything beats living on the streets and even this is much better than the hostel. I don't have to walkout side the room and down the hall to take a shower like the other place.

Tomorrow I am going to head back down to the Ferry Building where I had previously slept outside. But this time I am getting a train ticket to go up further North for a few days to stay with some old friends. To be honest, while I love this city and while she has been mostly good to me over the years...I am ready for a little break. I'll end this with the same phrase that another good friend ended her blog with the other day, "Peace and Happy Solstice!"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Simple pleasures

I am having a hard time lately. I have to admit that I am having a hard time or else I will not be able to fix it and move forward. My ankle is so swollen and painful that I walk with a limp. My semi-regular showers and my backpack have converted me into a human living on the fringe of real society, someone on the outside, someone on the outside looking in. People either stare at me or don't look at me in the eye when I walked past. I wish that they would understand what I am doing...I have to follow my dreams, I just have to.

I have checked out of the hotel again and have hiked my way up to Fort Mason where I am currently staying in a hostel. I have been alone for so long that it is tough for me to be around so many people, especially when I am sharing a room with seven other guys. This must sound silly for someone like me, such the city boy. I stayed away for most of the day after I checked in because I didn't want to talk to them. I thought that if I were to sneak in after they were asleep and then left before they awoke it would be much better. But alas, I was tired and cold and needed to come back so I introduced myself to them. They were all from Korea and for that I was pleased. I don't know why but I felt better knowing that I had some cultural understanding and sensitivity and while I didn't want to explain to them why I was here when they asked me, I did my best to give them as honest of an answer.

For most of the day, I sat in a park on a hill and people watched. It might not seem like a productive way to spend the day, however, one learns a lot when observing life in this manner. I got some food...watched the Niners and the Vikings lose respectively at the pizza parlor on the television, and then made it back to the Fort to hang out for a bit before I called it a night.

Tomorrow, I am getting up early and going back down town and then to the Lower Nob Hill to get the keys to the apartment that I will be staying in for at least the next month. I'm not excited about it, but it's a place to stay for the time being.

Until next time: Happy Kwanzaa everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lonnie the Loadie

Yesterday I met this cat on the street named Lonnie, or Lonnie the Loadie which I think suits him best. It had stopped raining and he was hanging around the United Nations Plaza just killing time. At least that's what he told me. He had a nice little pull cart filled with his clothes, basic toiletries, and a clean sleeping bag and blanket. I was a little envious of his set up because my bag was so heavy and was becoming too much of a burden for me to carry. But even though he had a sleeping bag and blanket and I didn't, he was complaining about the rain from the night before because he was forced to do laundry two days in a row. Apparently, he had taken the time to clean up his bedding at the laundry mat and because of the rain the other night, it was completely soiled and he was forced to do it again.

I asked him where he slept last night and he told me that he had found an alley just off of Market Street but according to him it wasn't his usual spot. His usual spot was under the over pass at 850 Bryant Street. "You usually sleep outside of the City Jail?" I asked him. "Wouldn't you rather stay as far away from the cops as possible, especially if you are sleeping on the streets?" He assured me that it was the best place in the City to sleep because the cops generally leave folks alone there. Plus, if anyone tries to mess with you they are right there to help. One cop even gave him five bucks the other day and told him where he could get some more free clean blankets on 9th. "I like to stay there because it protects me from the wind and the rain and plus, there have been two times where someone tried to light me on fire when I was sleeping! I figure the cops are like protection for me."

I was curious as to why Lonnie the Loadie hadn't made it down to his usual spot that night before. When I asked, he said that he was too loaded from smoking too much weed the entire day and couldn't make it there before the rain started pouring. Lonnie didn't look like the kind of guy who would sit on the street and beg for money, he seemed too savvy so I asked him about his financial situation. I know that this would normally be a personal question but on the streets, no question is out of the question. Lonnie the Loadie has been receiving disability benefits for the last 15 years and the government deposits his money into a bank account every month. A bum with a bank account, I thought. How modern!

When Lonnie was a child in Indiana, he was sexually abused by his father for so many years that he had developed a post traumatic stress disorder and that is why he was able to receive benefits from the government. He even said that he is receiving good money for it, enough to get an apartment in the City of his own. However, he wanted to save all of his money for weed and booze and preferred to stay in the streets instead. I remembered what Ray the Cleaner had told me before. Don't get too comfortable on the streets or you will never be able to get out. I guess that Lonnie the Loadie was the perfect example of this scenario and while I had only made it a few days outside, I was certain that I would not let that happen to me.

Lonnie asked me if I wanted to smoke a joint with him and when I declined he simply said, "To each his own." I wished him luck and he wished me the same and we parted ways. "I'll see you around bro," he said and I hoped that I wouldn't but I didn't let him know that.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

For the first couple of nights out on the streets, I have to wasn't that bad. It wasn't fun so to speak, but it wasn't bad. In fact, the second night I was so tired that I slept like a baby. Now having said that, last night completely and utterly sucked. It was horrible and it was my first glimpse at what it is really like for over 6,500 men, women and children out on the streets every day here in San Francisco.

My day didn't start out any different than the previous ones. I wrote, went to the library to check email, got something small to eat and then headed back down to the pier to watch the people and yet again, do some more writing. Being the introspective person that I am, I find that a lot of what I write I choose not to share publicly, at least not yet...but I do have to say that it has been very good for me and honestly has allowed me to do a lot of personal healing.

The clouds in the sky looked no more ominous than the previous days so I wasn't too worried about rain. I did notice though, that it was a few degrees colder than the night before and for that I was a little concerned. When the sky grew darker, I moved locations back to the patio outside of the Hyatt again to listen to the ice skating music and do some more writing. Other than having a slight case of the shivers, everything seemed to be just fine. Just after 10 PM when the skating rink closed, I moved towards the same bench that I had slept on the night before and made my bed and camp and got ready to go to sleep. When I would see homeless people on the streets of the City before, I used to always wonder what they were doing once they found a location to spend the rest of the night. Now I understood because I had already developed my own routine as well. When I was satisfied with my location and the placement of my belongings, I lie down and go to sleep.

Suddenly, at around 3 AM, I awoke to something that felt like someone was throwing small stones at me and hitting the top of my blanket and my head. Startled and now completely awake I realized that it wasn't stones or rocks but a nice heavy rain falling down upon me instead. Instantly, I scrambled to gather all of my things and put my blanket and towel back into my pack and head for shelter. I ran for the mall that was on the first floor of the Embarcadero Center building number four and waited until I could figure out what I would do next. The rain was coming down so hard and didn't seem like it would let up so for a moment I began to get worried. For some reason, I decided to try the front door of the mall to see if it was open and to my surprise it was. As stealthily and as quickly as I could manage, I made my way up to the second floor. The escalator wasn't running at that hour so I had to hike up the flight of stairs and look for a new spot to lay. It was well lit and their weren't many options so I finally settled on the entry way in front of the Gap. I folded my towel into a makeshift pillow and set the rest of my things beside me and immediately went to sleep. It was the first time that I had been able to fully stretch my legs and sleep like a somewhat normal human being. The floor was cold but the air was increasingly warmer under my blanket without the frigid wind outdoors.

Unfortunately, this only lasted for an hour and a half when at 4:30 AM, a man kicked me and ordered me to leave telling me that I couldn't stay there. Again, I quickly gathered my things and went down stairs and back out into the cold where it was still raining. Tired and out of options, I walked to the side of the same building that I was in and found a service door that was unoccupied and made my final camp there for the rest of the morning. This lasted until 7:30 AM when I was again kicked by another security guard asking me to leave. I was wet, cold, and extremely tired. Not knowing what else to do, I walked back to the ferry building and washed up in the restroom and then sat outside until it was mid morning and most of the commuters were gone for the time being. Completely drained, I knew that I couldn't do this for another least not four nights in a row. I was stinky, my feet hurt, my back hurt and I was mentally beat up. It's time to call it quits I thought, even if it is just for a few nights.

P.S. I am happy to say that I am staying in an old motel on Market Street with everything that I could possibly need, a bed, a television, and free internet. The rats and roaches were also added into my vacation package for free and I couldn't be happier. That's all for now. Peace.

P.P.S. The photo is my view from my room and this time it is from the inside looking out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sweet and Sour

It's been interesting these last few days. I have begun to look at people differently. I'm listening differently, watching differently, understanding situations differently. I'm looking within myself carefully and with compassion at the same time.

Simple things are making me happy these days, more so than any other time in my life. I have always considered myself a simple person, not needing much at all to survive. however, when the sun came out yesterday as I was sitting on the pier and beat down on my back, warming me through and though, I was ecstatic and content.

My second day outdoors was longer than the day before. Mostly because it was the first full 24 hours that I spent on the street. I wanted night time to come so that I could go to my spot and rest. Because I didn't sleep much the night before I was nodding on and off all day and didn't want to be seen caught like that, just in case the five-oh wanted me to leave. That's how we say it on the streets ya'll, the five-oh. Okay, so I am kidding again. I'm just trying to sound tougher than I really am. Actually, I am surprised at how tough I have actually been during the course of these last few nights.

Finally darkness came and when the ferry building's clock tower rang 8:00 PM, I rushed as fast as I could towards my spot, the spot that I called my home the night before. But when I got there, much to my dismay it was taken by someone else! How dare he come into my home like this I thought. There was a possibility that he would leave so I went to another bench on the other side of the dock next to a couple snuggling together. It wasn't long before one of them proposed to the other and they ended up kissing and oohhhing and ahhhhing for at least an hour. I hated them. I wanted my old spot in the back from the night before.

Just then, a private security car came rushing up the driveway and the guard stormed out of his vehicle with nothing but a flashlight. But it was a big flashlight and he looked as if this tool gave him some authority and power and in some respects it did. He shined his light on me and looked me up and down but said nothing. Then he disappeared around the corner and kicked out the guy who was in my original spot. Eventually, he came back to me and with his big flashlight pointed in my face, he demanded that I leave before the hour was up.

So much for the familiarity of the previous night. I didn't know what to do. I was so tired from the night before and I didn't want to spend the night searching for a spot where I could sleep unseen and untouched. I crossed the Embarcadero slowly because my shoulders and feet were hurting terribly.

This is where I meet Moldavia and Rich. Moldavia is a quirky artist from Berkeley who has developed her own technique of making wool hats. She shows me her resume if you will, that boasts numerous celebrities who have purchased her hats. Anyone from Tupac and the Digital Underground to Woppie Goldberg are reported to own some of her work.

Rich is a fan of hers and knows her by walking in the park and chatting with her over the years. Both of them are complete opposites but both of them have interesting things to say about me. Moldavia gives me a spot on reading about my personality and wants to know what I am doing there on that night. Once I told her, she said that she completely understands and that she felt that I was on purpose. Rich is a little more scared for me though and gives me a bottle of pepper spray. He assures me that he has another one in the other pocket so I reluctantly take it and put it in my bag. Rich even offers to let me stay at his house and loan me his last two dollars, but I decline. For some reason he is still worried about me.

I was happy to talk to them, especially because it killed a few hours and was now almost midnight. I walked through the Hyatt's outdoor patio and into a large park that overlooked the four Embarcadero Center buildings and found a bench. There was someone else sleeping in the bushes about a 100 yards from me so I made sure to stay as far away as possible. Ideally, this bench was too out in the open but I was tired and decided that I would sleep sitting up for a while until I could figure out another location.

Needless to say, that never happened. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep and didn't wake up once until 6 AM. I noticed that I was so sound asleep that I actually had real dreams and I felt rested and good. I checked to make sure that all of my belongings were still with me and went back to sleep, not waking up until 9:30. This probably wasn't such a good idea but I needed the rest.

Today should be just as interesting as the last few and it is supposed to rain. I'm not sure what I am going to do about that one. Oh well...back to the streets. Peace!

P.S. Photo Descriptions: 1) the sun that made me so warm and happy 2) artist Moldavia showing off a hat 3) my view from the park bench that I finally ended up on for the night

Monday, December 14, 2009

In the Streets of San Francisco, You'll Meet Some Gentle People There...

After I left Phil and Julie's condo in the Mission yesterday, I had somewhat of a plan. However, I still hadn't quite figured out where I was exactly going. I still had a little bit of cash in my pocket but not much. Originally I had planned to stay in a hostel just above Fort Mason but then realized that I only had enough money for the lodging and nothing left over for food for the time being. So this is where I had to make a tough decision, choose a roof over my head for two nights or put food in my belly?

The growling in my stomach won me over and I decided that food would be the most important thing for me right now even more so than a bed for the night. I was taking a gamble though as it had been raining non-stop for the last three nights with no signs of letting up. I could still back out if the rain came and head up the mountain to the hostel if I needed to. My pack has been getting heavier by the day so I walked slowly down Market Street until I finally made it to the pier. Exhausted, I carefully slipped my bag off of my aching shoulders and sat on the cold cement and watched the Oakland ferry boats come and go. I was getting nervous because the sky in front of me, just over the Bay Bridge was begging to look dark and ominous. I still had time to back out. I sat there for at least two hours watching the people and the boats and thinking about everything and nothing at all at the same time. It was a sort of surreal Zen like experience for me.

That's when I met Roy the Cleaner. While he doesn't actually clean anything per se, he told me that he had once sold cleaning products across the country so I thought it fitting to give him this nickname. Roy the Cleaner was barely 20 or 21 years old and clean shaven with an almost military appeal to him in dress and in his speech. He had seen me sitting there and assumed that I was on the streets so he thought that he would chat it up with me. He asked me how long I had been on the streets and I lied, I told him a few weeks. He told me that he had been out here for over a month. He was selling his cleaning wares from Maryland where he is from when business suddenly went bad. "Damn economy!" He yells. He tells me that he lost everything. He tells me about where he sleeps, a real find he says. It's down past pier 39 in a public hallway that the public seemed to have forgotten about. He tells me about the boat that he wants to own and live in. He tells me about karma. He tells me about Mexicans and what he thinks of them. He tells me about a program in the City that will help people like him in his situation with fare to buy a bus ticket back home. He tells me that tomorrow, he is going to finally take them up on that offer and return back to Maryland. I simply nod and smile every now and then and interject with a "damn," or a "that's pretty crazy." I figured that he liked the company, however, since this was my first night outside, I preferred to be alone.

I eventually say goodbye to Roy the Cleaner and wish him luck with his bus ticket situation the next day. I didn't know what else to say and almost caught myself saying, "I'll see you on the flip side brodda." But thankfully I caught myself and simply gave him the 'Peace' sign and walked away into the Ferry Building for a little warmth.


I realized that if I wanted to make this work, I would need to keep moving quite a bit. I didn't want to stay in one place too long just in case someone would see me. So I walked back away from the water up Market in the direction that I had come from earlier and got some snacks and water at the Wallgreens.

For some reason, my right ankle was throbbing once I left so I only made it about halfway back towards the water on my return trip. I decided that I would sit on a bench outside of the old Wells Fargo building at One Montgomery. No one seemed to mind that I was there. Fellow street dwellers would smile and nod their heads at me when they passed by. I even met a cool hippie couple trying to find their way back home to Seattle so I was glad to help them with directions to the bus terminal.

After another hour or two in this spot I figured that it was time to move again. This time, I went to the left of the pier towards a park near the winter outdoor ice skating rink. I sat in the park for some time admiring the ice skaters as well as the grandeur of the lights and the buildings in the financial district. Soon, it began to rain and I began to get a little worried. It might be too late to back out now and head for the hostel as it was nearing 10 PM already. Thankfully, I didn't let it bother me and eventually the rain did stop. Taking that as I sign, I moved to my final location for the rest of the night.

I didn't know that this was going to be my final stop for the evening when I ventured in this direction. I was more interested in seeing the Port of San Francisco sign lit up in red which you cannot see from the city, only from a boat or the bridge. I followed a darkly lit sidewalk where from what I could see was completely empty. What I encountered was one of the most amazing views of the City that I have ever seen and on top of that, the perfect place to spend the rest of the night! Originally, I hadn't planned on sleeping at all because I didn't know what I was to expect. But now that I had found this spot, a few hours rest might not be that bad of an idea.

I was completely content with my surroundings. It was the best damn view that one could have hoped for and one that would never be seen from any apartment building in town. I was the only one who has this view I thought. I listened to music and danced around for hours, enjoying my time and mainly keeping warm. Finally, at just after midnight, I felt sleepy and decided to give sleep a try. I used a towel for my pillow and pulled out a small down blanket that I was happy that I had that night and laid it on a bench with my head to the City and my feet facing the bridge. This isn't so bad I thought and immediately went to sleep. That only lasted for about two hours though when it seemed that the temperature dropped 20 degrees and my blanket wasn't keeping me warm enough to sleep. I ditched the towel pillow and wrapped it around my legs instead to double-up on the warmth which kind of worked. Several hours of restless, freezing sleep went by until I was startled by the horn of the first ferry coming into port for the day. Not wanting to be caught, I immediately packed up my belongings and moved to another location and wrapped my blanket around me, shivering in the cold. When the sun finally had risen, I went back into the Ferry Building and into the restroom where I soaked my cold hands in the hot water and washed my face. I wanted to say indoors for as long as I could but knew that I couldn't stay in the bathroom. I squatted near the front doors where it was just warm enough and just close enough to the Amtrak station that no one seemed to mind me being there. I actually fell asleep again while sitting up. Right before I was getting ready to leave, I saw none other than Roy the Cleaner. He gave me a "Sup Nate" and then walked away. I guess that he just wasn't quite ready to get on that bus back home yet.

Thankfully, today is not too cold and the sun seems to be trying to come out. Time to go soak up some vitamin D before figuring out where I will end up next. Peace!

P.S. These pictures were from my "room" for the night.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Best Day of Birth

When I had no where else to go and was quickly running out of cash, two of my most favorite people in all of San Francisco opened their home up to me. Phil and his wife Julie took me in for three nights in their amazing condo in the Mission just bordering the Castro. I love coming to visit them because, well, both of them have so many amazing stories to tell and we all have a strong affinity for rock n' roll and the Beatles.

What is even more amazing is that they opened their home to me in a time that was difficult for their family. Phil had just had an invasive procedure to attempt to cure prostate cancer and Julie had just gone on a series of interviews at the A.C.T (American Conservatory Theatre). Ironically, this is the same theatre that my father had worked for in the late '60s.

I have never felt so completely blessed and welcome in a home, especially when the circumstances of their lives were so trying. While today is my 32nd birthday, they put themselves before me and took the time to order pizza in and bring me a cake with candles to blow out while they sang "Happy Birthday." I honestly can not remember the last time that I have had a birthday cake and I was at a loss for words. I know that my time spent with Phil and Julie was not easy for them, and for that I am forever grateful and in debt. However, I do know that their hearts are bigger than they give themselves credit for and that I cannot wait to be able to return the favor and pay it forward.

I'm happy to say that Phil is recovering well and that Julie has aced the interview at the A.C.T. Just by the fact that when you walk into their home you are greeted by over 120 playbills from her father in New York City seems fitting enough that Julie will get the job and that Phil will be on his way to recovery.

Thank you Phil and Julie. You two mean the world to me. Cheers!

Here Ye Here Ye Here Ye

Good people of the Mission District of San Francisco. I am pleased to say that I have found you to be warm and accepting people. You have graciously let me into your homes without question. You have given me warmth and sustenance without even taking the time to think twice. For this, I have also embraced you as my own...

Okay, so that is a little dramatic, however, while walking the streets of this neighborhood I truly felt at home.

The other day, I wandered around the Mission for about 4 hours until I could no longer hold my backpack any longer. I needed to take rests almost every 20 minutes because my back was beginning to hurt so terribly that this was the only thing that I could possible do. However, while walking slow...mostly because my knees wouldn't allow me to move any faster, I noticed some of the most amazing artwork and culture that I have ever seen. The weather was cooperative and while tired, I was in high spirits. Here are some of the pieces that I stumbled upon while I was seemingly stumbling myself. One of the murals is of one of my most favorite San Francisco illustrators, Sirron Norris, nonchalantly placed upon the wall of a small market and liquor store. Tired and hungry I am, however the beauty that I am finding never ceases to fulfill and amaze me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Weather is Frightful

I arrived back in San Francisco this evening and while it is so familiar and comfortable for me, tonight it seemed somewhat foreign. I walked the streets just as I would have done on any other given day only this time I didn't have anywhere to go. It was time for me to now think about how to do things in order and do them one at a time without worrying about the next task. Just complete one and then move onto the next until all have been completed. At least that's what I told myself to do.

I hadn't eaten anything today so the first thing that I saw once I got off of the train was a fast food chain. That was task number one: fill my belly.

Once that I had my fill, I walked up Geary Street back towards my old neighborhood, not because I needed to be there but because it was in the direction that I had always walked. Realizing that I wasn't quite sure where I would be going, I stopped in Union Square and sat on a bench. I must have sat there for at least two hours before the numbness of the cold got the best of me and I had to move. It was then that I realized that I wouldn't be able to rough it in the cold as much as I thought that I would be able to.

Thankfully, I was able to meet up with an acquaintance from a year or so ago who lives in the Mission and she offered me her couch for the night. I love her is a huge loft/warehouse with a full stage and art gallery with all sorts of interesting artists and musicians living here. While I am only going to be staying here for the night, I have asked her if I might be able to rent her soon to be open room in the near future. It just might be an option and even though I don't know what the outcome will be, I know that whatever the universe holds for me will be just what I need no matter what. Plus I really love her two cats. I miss my childhood cats. All is well in the bay and one more day alive here in this town feels just great.


I'm going to be on the road for the next few days and will be heading back towards the Bay Area. I'm not quite sure where I will land so internet access will be hit and miss for a while. I am looking forward to having more updates very soon...and I'm off!

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Can be Strong...

But I am only human and right now, I am feeling lonely.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Write Write Write

I am finding that I am quite scattered and I have self diagnosed myself with what I will call as writers A.D.H.D. Honest. It has to be a real condition I swear. The desktop of my laptop is full of word documents and folders, some that are complete and I just don't know what to do with them and others that are completely incomplete but for some reason I am saving them for a later date. Either way, I am pretty sure that they will die right here on this computer because, writers A.D.H.D. will get the best of me I'm sure and I will have moved on to something else.

I'm still in Sacramento and I am going to stay here one more night because I figured that it would cost just as much for me to be here as it would for me to go back to San Francisco. Plus, it is raining outside and I don't feel like hiking in the harsh weather back downtown to the train station until it subsides.

Having said that, I have been quite productive today. I wrote three articles for payment about cruise destinations. I have never been on a cruise in my life so I faked it a bit but I think that I did a pretty good job. I also sent in another writing sample for a freelance gig about art schools, something that I actually know something about so I hope to get that one as well.

Other than that, all is well. I'm pissed that the niners lost to Seattle today and that it is getting colder outside. But other than that, all is well.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Toilet Graffiti Photographer

I thought that this was pretty cool, and well...amusing as well. I met this dude in Sacramento today named Troy who has self published a photography book featuring his favorite art and prose. It's not your traditional art and poetry, it is all found in bathroom stalls around Sacramento, Berkeley, New York and San Francisco. Just thought I would do a shout out. Visit his site at:

Capital City

Okay, so I didn't make it that far from where I was the night before. I took the regional transit from Folsom back to the Sacramento Valley Transit Center wondering where I might go next. I looked at the large map of the Western United States posted on the outside of the building and trailed the multicolored lines with my index finger hoping that one particular city would jump out at me. My finger tip hovered over Reno, NV and while I don't particularly like this city, I thought that it might be fun so I stopped there. Plus, because of the gambling there the rooms would be super cheap. Disgusting, but cheap. No sooner did I convince myself that this was where I was going to go did I change my mind when I realized that I didn't have any warm clothes and would freeze my ass off there if made the attempt. Scratch Reno.

Instead, I walked outside and was amazed at how quiet downtown Sacramento is on a weekend. The sky was completely clear and the sun was warm and calming. I'll stay here for a night or two I thought, it might be nice and quiet yet still have the urban culture that I so crave.

I wandered around the streets of city center and around the capital building for a few hours, scoping out a spot to either get some cheap eats or find a place to sleep. But damn, my pack was getting heavy and my back was throbbing. I am going to need to get rid of some things if I am ever going to make it very long on this path. I guess I am pretty much the only bum on the streets who is carrying around an iron just in case I need to smooth out my clothes. Sheesh, I am a bourgeoisie bum. I think that might have to be the first thing to go.

After finding a cheap meal I needed to figure out where I was going to go. It was still warm outside and there weren't really any people on the streets. Plenty of hiding places where I could bed down for the night. It wouldn't be that bad. Honestly, I really did want a bed to sleep in tonight so I tracked down every hotel in town that I thought that I might be able to afford. Much to my disappointment, however, this was the weekend for the California International Marathon and every room was completely booked or way too expensive. After my last attempt which I thought would be a positive omen at the Vagabond Inn because, well...I am a vagabond of sorts and I was denied a room, I was pretty sure that I would be sleeping on the streets tonight. My other option was to go back to the train station and ride back to San Francisco but it was already beginning to get dark and I feared that I wouldn't have much luck finding a room at this hour either. Plus, I was exhausted and it was beginning to become much colder outside.

Remembering the days when I used to live near Sacramento, I followed back roads in what Sacramentans call the River District until I could see Interstate 5 heading North. There were always hotels lining major exits so I was confident that I would be able to find something there in my price range. 3 miles and 2 hours later (Hey, it took 2 hours because of the damn backpack okay?), I finally found a place to stay and I was shocked to see how nice it was for such little dough.

So for the night, I will be resting my back, deciding which items aren't crucial for me to carry on with, and enjoying a salad from the only restaurant nearby, McDonald's.

P.S. The photo above shows downtown Sacramento where I started and ultimately where I ended near the hotel.

Night 5 on the Road

I was both excited and saddened by my ticket purchase at the Ferry Building the other day. I was excited because it would officially mark the start of my "on the road" journey, but saddened because I could already feel myself missing the buzz of San Francisco. I had an hour or so to kill before the bus would come and pick me up to take me to the train station so I sat on the pier and watched the Alameda Ferry come in and out of port. It was a beautifully perfect day despite my emotions and now it was time to finally get going.

The train ride went by quickly and while the scenery was awesome, it was otherwise quite uneventful. Once I arrived in Sacramento, I took the Regional Transit Light Rail all of the way until almost the last stop in Folsom where I met Eric. Both of us were pretty tired so we stuffed ourselves with some hearty Mexican food and laid low for most of the night in front of the television.

The next day, we took a short road trip to Davis to wander around the university campus, Eric's alma mater and old stomping ground. After an hour of checking out the sites, we both agreed that we felt much older now in comparison to the students cruising on their bicycles and noses glued to their text books. Seeing these students caused Eric and I to reminisce about the hopes and dreams that we had while in college and how much different they were in reality to our existence now.

A lot of people have been asking me why the hell I chose to come to Folsom, CA in the first place other than to see Eric, especially because it's not that far away, it's a small town and it's very conservative.

Well, Eric being a friend and in a very similar situation as myself is one of the reasons because we both desperately wish to write for a living full time. Another big reason why I chose Folsom as a first stop on my journey is because it is the antithesis of San Francisco and I thought that it might give me some insight. Overall, it was a pretty quiet trip and I had a lot of fun catching up with Eric about old high school friends and admiring the leaves that had already changed colors and were beginning to fall.

I also was able to follow Eric on one of his reporting gigs much to his dismay. I thought that it was rather interesting but he was embarrassed because he was charged with reporting on the Folsom Tree Lighting Ceremony for the local newspaper. On top of that, the festivities and the cold weather reminded me of the small town that I spent most of my childhood in. It was a good night.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Riding the Rails

Today, I decided that I am going to take a train up North. I was trying to remember the last time that I have been out of the San Francisco city limits and it has been well over two months. I figure now is as good of a time as any other to go so I am packing up my backpack, checking out of the hotel and heading down to the Ferry Building to purchase a ticket. I'm not sure how long I will be gone or where exactly I will end up and it should be quite fun. I do know for sure that my first stop will be at my buddy and fellow writer Eric's house near Sacramento. After that, only the universe knows! All aboard!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crisp December Day in San Francisco

This morning I woke up feeling like I was back working for my old job. The feeling was scary, more scary than not knowing where I would be landing the next day. You may wonder why I would have this feeling considering all of the other things that I have been encountering lately. The reason why I instinctively thought of my old work is because I woke up in an unfamiliar hotel room in a location that was foreign to me.

My previous career had me traveling quite a bit so I became accustomed to awaking in hotel rooms and not knowing where I was. However, because I haven't been in a hotel since the day that I was laid off, I was startled by my surroundings. Once I realized that I was indeed not working for that organization any longer, I was able to slow my breathing and my panicking subsided.

Not having to impress anyone, I put on my cap and walked out the door to check out what the free breakfast options were. I was surprised to hear that I was too late. "But it says free continental breakfast on that sign right there!" I exclaimed. "It's right there!"

"I'm sorry sir, but it is 12:30 in the afternoon. You are two and a half hours late for breakfast," said the clerk behind the counter trying to hold in his disdain inside for patrons such as myself. When he said this, I looked at my watch confused because this is when I always get up. I have never been a morning person and always do my best work late in the afternoon and into the early hours of the next morning.

"But this is my breakfast time!" I exclaimed again to the clerk but there was nothing he could do for me. As I turned around and began to walk out of the front doors onto the street, the clerk called towards me.

"Sir! Wait just a second." Not sure what I had done that would require me to wait, the curiosity got the best for me and I stood still as he ran towards me with outstretched arms holding a clear wrapper with a cheese danish inside. "I found this in the back, it's not much but I thought that you could use it better than I could."

Touched, I thanked him and walked outside onto 7th Street into the clear brisk winter day and smiled. I am learning that simple gestures, simple interactions with other human beings, positive thinking and having a good sense of humor is priceless. With a little something in my belly, I walked the City for hours enjoying the people and sights and interestingly enough I noticed buildings and artwork that I had never noticed before. There was another lesson that I learned today, move slowly and be still from time to time. It is such a simple thing, yet I forget to do it almost every single day. From now on, I am going to be still in the moment and enjoy the time that I have.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Moon Rising

My last post was about the moon and new beginnings. Well I finally turned in my keys to the apartment that I called home for the last few years and walked away on my own new beginning. I couldn't see the moon tonight because I honestly wasn't looking for it. I was on a mission to find out where I would be sleeping for the night.

I am very grateful to one person in particular who came to my rescue when I was in need and helped me get a hotel for two nights in the SOMA district of San Francisco. I had no idea that this person, someone whom I would consider as close as my own sister would come out and help me in this way. She doesn't know how much this means to me so I hope that through my writing, she will understand.

The hotel isn't amazing but it has a private bath, a television and a desk where I can write when I am not out and about. So for now, I will work on my projects, enjoy the change of scenery, and continue the adventure.

New Beginnings

Last night there was an almost full moon indicating at least to me, the beginning of something great. It was the first time that I had really smiled and felt content in some time, simply by catching a glimpse of this amazing celestial being.

Recently, I watched an NHK World presentation about what people around the globe think about the moon. NHK stands for the Nippon Hoso Kyoukai or in English, the Japanese Broadcast Corporation. I was intrigued by the various perceptions of different cultures regarding what the moon symbolizes to them and it caused me to think about what it might mean to me.

I had honestly never thought about it before other than during the fall and winter months when the days are shorter and the nights longer. For the most part, the moon seemed spooky and conjured up images of Halloween ghosts and goblins in my head. It wasn't until I stood there on the street and really had a good look at it did I realize that it wasn't something to be feared, but something to admire. And on that night, the bright light of the moon was brighter than any of the lights emanating from the buildings and streets of San Francisco. It was simply beautiful.

As an American, I grew up thinking that there was a man in the moon, however, the NHK show reminded me of what the Japanese see there instead. There is a rabbit on the moon with a wooden mallet pounding mochi. I liked their view of the moon better than what I had traditional thought of it.

Needless to say, what I enjoyed about the moon that night was that it was lighting the way down a path towards my new life and I felt completely free. I wasn't afraid any longer.

I found an inexpensive hotel down O'Farrell Street to stay in. It wasn't fancy and in fact it is one of the worst rooms or hotels that I have ever stayed in. But it has a bed and a shower and a nice view of Union Square where I could still see the moon, rising ever so slowly in the sky. Whether it was the man in the moon or the rabbit pounding mochi that got me through the night, I will never know. However, the point is that I did make it through the night and this is the first affirmation that confirmed I am on the right path. I'm not sure where it will lead, but I am learning to be comfortable with uncertainty.