Matte’s Blog

Not With a Bang

But maybe some whimpering.

Faithful readers have perhaps noticed that I haven’t posted anything new in over a month. And fellow Bridge residents are now asking how I’m doing when they see me since they’ve seen so little of me recently. And close readers who look at my Production Reports will have observed that there’s been a great falling-off in the frequency with which I’m preserving things (at least until the past week or so). Last week I had to drop out of my beloved Spanish class because I don’t seem to be able to keep up anymore and worse yet, am forgetting things faster than I’m learning them. Que lastime. Yep, the bottom line is that I’m grinding to a stop in every way. Then again that’s not terribly surprising since I just had my eightieth birthday. What’s surprising is that I’ve made it this far since the odds sure were against it.

Genetics? Oh please, I gave my sister all the family tree stuff I’d gathered, but I’m almost certain that no male on either side of my family has lived to 80. Clean living? Don’t spew your coffee. In the first place I started smoking when I was in high school in the late fifties and didn’t stop until 2004 or so. Then I fell off the wagon in about 2014 and didn’t stop again until I returned to the city in 2017. I no longer buy packs of cigarettes, but if I see people smoking on the street, I whirl the Segway around, extend a folded dollar bill between thumb and forefinger, and ask them if they’d sell me a cigarette. I do this three or four times a week, and most folks say Yes.

Also in the less-than-clean living category, there was a twenty-five year period in mid life when I was actively gay, and gays don’t live as long as the rest of the populace.And finally, for the past fifteen years walking has been increasingly difficult and I’ve been getting around town on my Segway, which wouldn’t be quite as dangerous if I’d just stay in the bike lanes. I do that only when there’s one going to my intended destination. I’m trying to be more careful now, but I’ve fallen on a number of occasions, in the process breaking – mostly in separate falls – all my right metacarpals, both index fingers, my right ring finger, my right radius, and my left fibula. I’ve also, in my most spectacular accident, hit my head so hard that I broke my helmet and woke up some time later unable to account for how I ended up in this strange large room when the last thing I remembered was pulling out into traffic on 24th Street after leaving Whole Foods. Turned out I was in the ER at SF General Hospital (now “Zuckerberg San Francisco Hospital and Trauma Center”) where I’d been taken by a passing fire department ambulance that had plucked me off the street, unconscious.

Anyhow, living this long has been fun, mostly. My life for the past ten years has revolved around writing material for this website and preserving fruit and vegetables. But I’ve now reached an exhaustion point and have had to cut back in all my activities, spending much more time in bed and less in productive things like making jams.

So, faithful ones, you should go to the 2020 and 2021 Production Reports and pick out some things you’d like. The shipping box holds six, but I can often juggle things around and get more in. So pick your six favorites and some spares to account for outages. And do this soon because it’s clear to my fellows in this building that I’m not making as much as I used to and some of ’em still have enough brain function to figure out that they need to go ahead and get theirs while they can. On the other hand, I don’t think any of the people in this building are regular readers of my blog posts, so if you act soon, you can grab all the good stuff while I still have a bookcase full of it.

I’m not going to say that this will be my last post, but it might be. And of course when I expire my sister will kill the credit card that’s set up for automatic payments to keep the site going. Objectively speaking, there’s little here worth saving, but this might be a good time to look at the recipes and save any you’re interested in. You could also surf around in my posts, particularly those in the Favorites menu, which is now not nearly as long as it will be once I nerve myself up to do the scut work.

Somehow just writing this has made me think of some more material to write about, but who knows how long it’ll take me to do that.

Meanwhile, my old friend Al has just given me a shot he took of me in late 1975 when I was still fresh meat in San Francisco.

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  1. ckm3
    Posted 7 December 2013 at 09:18 | Permalink

    For most people, what stays in Las Vegas is the money.

    Most excellent turning of the phrase

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 7 December 2013 at 14:26 | Permalink

      Many thanks.

  2. Chimpus_Dorkus
    Posted 21 December 2013 at 19:59 | Permalink

    Ouch. Poor bb, here’s hoping you have some good holidays etc to cheer you up and a speedy recovery.
    Be careful, will ya?!?

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 21 December 2013 at 20:50 | Permalink

      The holidays are most definitely cheerful, the recovery is progressing apace, and the caution level has been dramatically increased.

  3. Posted 24 January 2014 at 12:08 | Permalink

    Thank you for remembering Barry. And for loving him, as I did. I am glad he got to see a loving face before he died. You are right, he wanted to go out on his terms and it was never going to be pretty. Barry, even though he’d be cleaned up, was always disappointed after falling or having a heart attack, being picked up by ambulance, treated and then dumped right back onto the streets… He gave up hope for a place indoors after realizing that even that level of frailty was not enough to deserve housing in this city. he did admit to me he would have preferred to live inside. As you said, he was not crazy. 🙂 Again, thanks for the love and kindness you and others showed him. I know he appreciated it.

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 24 January 2014 at 12:26 | Permalink

      Since i wrote that account i’ve been back to the makeshift shrine several times and have talked with folks who knew him longer than i, people who were also there the afternoon before he died and to whom he also expressed very clearly that he did not want to go to the hospital. Some of the people who knew him better are organizing a little wake for him on the 1st of February, and i’ll post more details here as i learn them. Meanwhile, a useful resource is, with an article on 22 Jan that has extensive comments.

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