Essays

An Ode to Winter Fog in San Francisco
Essays, Nature + Climate Crisis

An Ode to Winter Fog in San Francisco

March 20th is officially the last day of the astronomical winter for 2023. So let’s take some time to wax poetic about San Francisco’s omnipresent atmospheric anomaly.  On what’s the last day of winter, there’s a sense of nostalgia that wraps around San Francisco’s fog this time of year. Sure, “Fogust” is a thing — something I’ve looked forward to since arriving in this city. Grays contrast verdant evergreens. Hugs red still; reflects soft moonlight; greets you with a familiar cool leaving your building.  San Francisco’s winter fog is a constant that we can rely on. In a world rife with impermanence and volatility and unwanted happenstance, it’s a consoling presence. Something akin to a text from a childhood friend, whom you speak to a few times a year. A hug from a passed loved on...
Drag Has Always Been in My Life
Essays, Queerness

Drag Has Always Been in My Life

'With all the glitz and glamor I was subjected to growing up, you'd think it would have unwillingly forced me to become a drag queen.' I was just a kid when one of my cousins took me to see John Water's film Pink Flamingos at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles. We smoked a joint before going into the theater, and while we were waiting for the movie to start, I swear I saw a raccoon cross the stage. Then, when the lights went down and the film began to play, I was utterly mesmerized by the screen presence of the incomparable drag queen, Divine. In the scene when the reporter asks her character Babs Johnson if she could give him some of her political beliefs –– her response "Kill everyone now! Condone first-degree murder! Advocate cannibalism! Eat shit! Filth are my politics; filth is my life...
SF’s Abandoned Walgreens Are Still Haunting Sights to Behold
Essays, Hyperlocal News + Stories

SF’s Abandoned Walgreens Are Still Haunting Sights to Behold

Over 22 Walgreens stores have closed in San Francisco over the past seven years. And their unpopulated interiors remain eerie fixtures around SF. After the apocalypse, I always assumed there'd be cockroaches, Twinkies, and — inexplicably — a fully functioning Walgreens standing proudly amongst the scorched rubble, fluorescent lights glaring. Under harsh lights, a bleary-eyed clerk would scan my M&Ms and shaving cream, after which I would leave the store, doors swishing open with their signature ding! I would make my way back out into the barren landscape, stepping around rogue Twinkies scuttling by (which had since evolved to grow legs). I'd resume my quiet life of moisture farming and hoarding whatever books survived the nuclear blast. But alas. The year is 2023. I'm walking...
This Guest Essay in The New York Times About San Francisco Is So Manipulative
Editors' Picks, Essays, Hyperlocal News + Stories, News to Know

This Guest Essay in The New York Times About San Francisco Is So Manipulative

It’s the editorial equivalent of gaslighting — a lantern carried by no other than SF billionaire Michael Moritz. San Francisco’s often the butt of far-right or centrism commentary about the unvarnished state of America’s cities. This seven-mile by seven-mile sliver of Northern California is a microcosm of societal issues that exist on a macro grade.  Rising rates of homelessness, the ever-worsening fentanyl epidemic, an affordable housing crisis (that exists in tandem with ballooning rates of inflation), and climate crisis woes all exist in exacerbated fashions inside this 49-square-mile municipality. Mind you, these issues are by no means unique to San Francisco; they exist in every large city in the United States. As is common phrasing in the Golden State: “As goes California, so ...
On the Anxietes From Catalytic Converter Theft in San Francisco
Essays, News to Know

On the Anxietes From Catalytic Converter Theft in San Francisco

I became a statistic that sits in the growing number of catalytic converter thefts recorded in San Francisco. It also destroyed my mental health. I opened the door to my car with a familiar chime ringing in the background. The Diet Coke, nearly empty and blanketed in dew, sits in the cup holder; I’m aware that I’ll have to wipe up the puddle of condensation that will puddle on the bottom.   Because I have a Prius Plug-in — an automobile that because of the current used car market *still* appraises higher than when I bought it back in 2017 — it started in electric-only mode. I put the car in reverse. I hear metal scrapping on the concrete; my mind first veers toward optimism, thinking that it might be an aluminum can wedged underneath the vehicle. I lay horizontal on the...
Loads of Valentine Love
Essays, Queerness

Loads of Valentine Love

‘With or without the razzle-dazzle of its seductive cover, I hope you can see that I am simply a reflection of all your love and beauty.’ I have never really loved Valentine's Day. So the production and commercialization of Valentine's classics from Hallmark and FTD florist don't interest me. However, if you want to talk about chocolates from See's Candy, I have a moment to sit and chat with you. I took a second to dive into the origins of Valentine's Day, and I don't know how I feel about the celebration. However, the following paragraph was taken directly from the interwebs: "The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern-day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — who were both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the third century. Th...
A Cancerous Mass; a San Francisco Farewell (to an Old Bastard)
Culture + Travel, Essays

A Cancerous Mass; a San Francisco Farewell (to an Old Bastard)

'I’m covered in squirming blanket puppies, soft wet tongues followed by sharp bites of my earlobe. Their mother pants in the nearby shade, thankful for the reprieve.' I stretched my upper eyelid to apply the brown waxy line along the top of my thinning lashes. The yellowed corner of my eye stuck out like a dingy armpit stain on a cotton-white shirt.  So, this is how it ends when your liver finally gives in. A lump of nausea roared its way up in protest. I hear my daughter’s muffled voice in the emergency department of Cedars Sinai, “My mom has a neuroendocrine tumor that has metastasized. She recently completed the first dose of a phase one clinical trial drug. A few days ago, she presented with yellowing eyes and skin. Her blood work showed a spike in bilirubin, and now she is fill...
When An Actual Rainbow Meets a Rainbow-Inspired Bridge in San Francisco
Essays, Nature + Climate Crisis

When An Actual Rainbow Meets a Rainbow-Inspired Bridge in San Francisco

It was the very notion of what it means to be in the right place, at the right time… with the right bit of smartphone technology in one’s hand. Sunday has evolved into a day of soft pleasures. It’s the day of the week I’ve now dedicated to allowing myself just to be. There’s no inherent structure to this principle; the only requirement is that I remain present, attentive, and guided by curiosity and contentment. If this day coincides with a desire to remain horizontal and oscillate between various stages of catalepsy, so be it; I’ll sink into feel-good queer films. But more often than not, Sundays invite me to take long walks around San Francisco. To sponge up the city. Explore new vistas. Revisit familiar ones. While I admit I’m a horrible meditator, I’ve grown astute at medita...
San Francisco’s New Generation of Rock, Revisited
Culture + Travel, Essays

San Francisco’s New Generation of Rock, Revisited

San Francisco is dead. Everyone says so. Everyone's wrong. Out-of-state publications love to decry the state of the City by the Bay, from the spiraling cost of living to the endemic homelessness the city seems powerless to address. Natives grumble that the influx of tech workers has driven them from their neighborhoods and replaced authenticity with artifice. Among non-tech transplants, conversations steer towards when — not if — they plan to leave the Bay Area. A common theme emerges: The city has become too expensive for the music scene and bohemian culture that once attracted as many to its rolling hills as tech does now. San Francisco, once a haven to freaks and outcasts with nowhere left to go, is now seen as the poster child for late capitalist decadence. Yet an attempt...
I Adopted an SF Storm Drain During the Bay Area Bomb Cyclone
Essays, Hyperlocal News + Stories, Nature + Climate Crisis

I Adopted an SF Storm Drain During the Bay Area Bomb Cyclone

My non-binary, steel-clad child, Big Drain Energy, managed to divert flood waters away from nearby businesses and homes. “It’s really not that bad, right now,” my new neighbor tells me on the corner of Mason and Bush streets. Her massive German Shepherd mutt is licking my knee; I had slipped on a metal grate moving a large fake fiddle leaf fig up Larkin Street earlier in the afternoon. Clasped in one hand is a Diet Coke. The other holds a leftover spackling brush from painting and a small plastic bag procured from a nearby bodega. "Yea, it’s not too bad — maybe it’s the lull before it gets rough,” I say (in what later turned out to be a fit of pontification). “Here’s hoping that my newly adopted storm drain will help steer that rainwater to a place that can actually hold it.” ...