My 22nd birthday party

Image may contain: drink


Since its my birthday I was thinking back on some of my more memorable birthdays. One I’ll never forget is my 22nd birthday back in 1978, 40 years ago.

I was staying at a friend of mine’s studio apartment at the time. And his little sister happened to be in town for a visit. So she was there too. And she happened to be one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. Then or now. She was 19, naturally blonde — short hair, sort of a modified Beatles moptop though more styled and sexy — big blue eyes and long, long legs. She told me she was making a good living putting herself through college by working as a “go-go dancer.”

Anyways we were all hanging out at my friend’s apartment that night celebrating my birthday. So I was getting a little more attention than usual. She bought me a big jug of California burgundy — which was my drink of choice back then — for a birthday present. And we were all just kicking back and loosening up. When my friend and his girlfriend said they were going out to see a movie for the evening. So suddenly it was just me and her alone in the apartment.

After a couple of tall glasses of wine (I was drinking fast, believe me) she said: “Would you like to see my go-go dancing routine?”

“Well sure,” I said.

“OK,” she said. “Put some music on that I can dance to while I put on my dancing clothes.”
She grabbed a little bundle of clothes and hustled off to the bathroom to change. I went into my friend’s bedroom where he had his stereo — and a great collection of rock albums — and sorted through the records for something suitable to play. For some reason I picked the second side of David Bowie’s “Low” album. 25 minutes of this moody avant-garde synthesizer space-out mood music.

She came out of the bathroom wearing this frilly white negligee that barely covered her butt, fishnet stockings, and shiny black spiked high-heels that made her wobble when she walked. She spent about two seconds trying to dance to Bowie’s space-out music and said: “I can’t dance to THAT!”

She went back into the bedroom and picked out a rock album that actually had a beat and a drummer to it. And as the music filled the room, she lowered the lights to this electric glow. And then she looked at me with a sly smile on her face and said — and I’ll never forget this because she really did — “I am going to blow your mind.”

She shuffled around the room for awhile on her high-heels dancing to the music. While I sat there rigid in my chair, clenching my glass of burgundy in my hand for dear life. And pretty soon she was out of her negligee and wearing nothing but a white half-bra and a tiny white g-string that left very little to the imagination. And then pretty soon there was nothing left to the imagination. As she swayed around the room dancing, she’d stop now and then to strike these very dramatic and erotic poses. All the while looking back at me with an amused and intense smile on her face (I probably had a look on my face like one of those stunned cartoon characters where their eyes are bulging out and their slobbering tongues are going straight down to the floor).

But the picture that is permanently imprinted in the mind’s-eye of my memory: At one point she sauntered over to me, turned around, bent over, and stuck her big round ass just inches away from my face, that tiny white g-string clinging up her crack. I can still see that image to this day clear as a bell. I’ll probably take that image with me to my grave. Ha ha.

After awhile the album side of music finally came to an end. And she stood there in front of me with her hands on her hips, looking straight at me like: “It’s your move now, boy!”

But I just sat there in my chair frozen stiff. I was stunned really. I think it was the first time a woman had ever aggressively sexually propositioned me. Let alone one of the most beautiful and sexy women on the planet. So I was at a complete loss as to how to proceed next. Actually, I always had the worst instincts when it came to navigating through the mating ritual between men and women. I would spend most of my adult life “making my move” at the exact wrong time when I shouldn’t make my move. And NOT “making my move” at the exact time when I should make my move. What can I say? I was hopelessly dim-witted, hopelessly mis-wired, in that regard. And would pay a bitter price for it over the years.

Finally when she realized I wasn’t going to jump on her bones she picked up her negligee from the floor, rolled it into a ball and playfully tossed it at my head. I think she was exasperated and confused that things hadn’t moved to the next logical step. I’m sure it didn’t happen to her very often.

She laughed and went back into the bathroom to change back into her street clothes. And we spent the rest of my birthday drinking burgundy and listening to rock music.

Later I typed up an account of the evening. And sent it off to this local porn paper that published reader’s sex fantasy. And to my surprise they printed it. I think it was the first piece of writing I ever got published. And I mailed her a copy. And ya know what? I wouldn’t be surprised if that blew HER mind a little bit. Because I had captured in words — just like a photographer — all the strange and magical moments of that evening.



September 11, 2001



I distinctly remember where I was on 9-11.  My Surviving on the Streets book had just been published the day before.  And I would turn 45 on the day after.  I considered my Street book one of the best things I had produced.  So I felt I was on top of my game back then. With new peaks yet to come.

And the Telegraph Street Calendar was a hit that year, too.  It was the one with Hate Man and Hatred on the cover. It sold well. And it recaptured a bit of the zany, fun-loving spirit of the Telegraph Avenue in the early ’90s. So that was looking up, too.

Everything I touched worked.  And I’d been doing daily kundalini yoga meditation for 7 years years.  With no drugs or alcohol. So I was sharp as a tack, both physically and spiritually.  It even seemed like I was finally resolving some of the demons that had bedeviled me all my life.  And I was actually turning into the person that I had always wanted to be. So I really felt like I was on a roll.  And I had every reason to believe things would just keep getting better and better.





And my little sister, at age 42, had managed to finally have her first child. So it was a new beginning for her. So that’s what I always remember about that period of 9-ll. The birth of my sister’s baby, and the birth of my “Surviving On the Streets” book. It seemed like things were really looking up on all fronts. . .

Of course I didn’t know at the time — one rarely does know at the time — that this would in fact be my peak.  And it would pretty much  be all downhill from this point onward.  And maybe not just for me.  But for America, too.



You asked for it you got it: Health tips from a degenerate alcoholic homeless guy

There are exceptions to this Do Nothing rule of course. When I got Shingles that fucking virus would have eaten the flesh right off of my face if I hadn’t got the proper medication, and as quickly as possible.


I’ve been feeling a little sick today. I got a bit of a fever, and I feel a little nauseous. I’ve been pushing myself a little too hard lately. And this is my body’s way of saying, “Knock it off, dude.”

You know what they say. “Every man is his own physician.” And of course I have my theories about sickness and health. When I get sick I generally do four things:

1.) I drink a lot of orange juice and water. (I’m a big believer in the healing powers of Vitaman C. And I like to drink a lot of liquids (and almost no food) to flush the bug — whatever it is — out of my system.)

2.) I spend as much time as possible lying in the sun. The sun is Life Itself. And I like to soak up as much of its energy as I can directly into my pores.)

3.) I sleep as much as possible (That way my body can employ most of its energy towards neutralizing the bug).

4.) I almost never go to a doctor or take medications. (I’m a big believer that the body has a built-in mechanism that constantly works towards returning itself to it’s state of equilibrium. For example, when the body is cold, it automatically shivers to generate warmth. And when the body is over-heated it automatically sweats to cool it down. And the problem with a lot of medications is they often attack the symptoms and not the under-lying causes. And the symptoms (like shivering and sweating) are often a way for the body to return to equilibrium).

So in short, the best thing to do is to nothing. Do as much nothing as possible. Most doctors know that. They mostly just give you a placebo or pain-killer and tell you to call back in two weeks after your body has done all the heavy lifting.

Basically I just trust my body’s instinct. My body is usually smarter than my mind. It’s like my body has a mind of its own.

Later in the afternoon I ate three Snickers with Almonds bars in quick succession. That’s another one of my theories. Chocolate is good for you. Take three Snickers bars and call me in the morning.



Friday night in the big bad city

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, drink, outdoor and water


I admit I have a strange set of priorities. And my mind doesn’t work like normal people’s minds. I’m obsessive for one thing. I’ll give you an example:

They have this great deal at this bar on Telegraph on Friday nights. From 4 to 5 they have 60 ounce pitchers of beer for $6. Then from 5 to 6 the price goes up to $7. Then from 6 to 7 they go up to $8. And so on. And it’s a great deal. Because normally the pitchers will go for $23 or more.

So now it’s 4:30. And I want to get to the bar before the stroke of 5 so I can get the $6 pitcher. But I have to take care of some business first. So I’m running around to different locales taking care of different things and it’s like an episode of Beat the Clock. The pressure is mounting. And I’m watching each minute ticking by before the deadline. Then I run into an expected hassle at one place which eats up valuable time. I actually shout in frustration “AAAIGGHH!!” So now I’m really sweating it. It’s like 4:55 and I got a long walk to get to the bar in time. So I’m half-walking half-running. I finally sidle up to the bar. But the bartender behind the bar is messing around with the cherries and olives and ice for the drinks. And merrily chatting away with the patrons. So now I’m really sweating it. When he finally sidles up to me I say “I’d like a pitcher of Sierra Nevada!!!”

The bartender pours the pitcher and brings it over to me. “That’ll be 6 dollars,” he says. VICTORY, I think. But then he corrects himself. “No that’ll be 7 dollars.” It’s now 2 minutes after 5. AAAIIGGHHH!!

I’m literally in a rage as I walk to my seat. For some reason I get crazy obsessive about stuff like that in my brain. I have to keep reminding myself “It was just a dollar. It was just a dollar.” But I can’t help it. I’m still pissed.

I go to sit by the window seat up front, but there’s no chair there. The guy sitting next to me is nursing his pitcher and eating his dinner and reading “The Hobbit” (I have no idea why I notice these details).. And he’s using the seat next to him to drape his jacket over and he has his bags of stuff on the seat.  So I have to traipse across the crowded bar in search of a chair I can use. I finally find one and lug it over to my spot.So now I’m doubley pissed. I was already pissed about losing the dollar. And now this guy is selfishly hogging two chairs for himself. Bastard! But I don’t want to make an issue about it. Because I’m gonna be sitting next to him for the conceivable future. So why get off to a sour start. But I could tell he noticed that I didn’t make an issue about it because he watched me as I went off in search of another chair.

Anyways, later the guy sitting at the seat next to me says. “Excuse me, I have to get up and go. And I don’t have time to finish my pitcher of Modelo Especial. Could I avail you to take possession of the rest of my pitcher?”

“Why you surely can” I said, as he slides his half-full pitcher of beer my way. “That’s very sweet of you.” We push knuckles in a show of manly camaraderie. So now I have even MORE beer than I deserve.

Sometimes I think the gods are fucking with me for sport.