This page is made in collaboration with Got2BeGlued
START OF CHAPTER 9
"Kids Part 1", "Kids Part 2", "Kids Part 3" (feat. Got2B Glued)
Thanksgiving has come and gone and with the rest of the incoming holidays around the corner, in comes the time for family and friends to visit from afar. It's hard not having a lot of the people I care for not near by me. It's usually just me and Courtney in the city together. Dash and Jamie drop in every now and then. Steven went off to college and the rest of my family, I travel to them. As for everyone else, no one has really come to visit me since I started taking on SF headfirst. I really want to show my loved ones around, because I now know this city so well. My bro Xavier from France, has been hanging out in my hometown of LA for the past 2 months and wanted to come up this way to see me. He's an incredibly talented photographer and i've been dying to get some fresh blood within my photoshoots. Xav asked if I had some time to show him around, so I took Courtney along to fetch him and show him some of our favorite spots to take beautiful pictures. Hanging with Xav is a breath of fresh air, because I want my friends to come and see me and give me a chance to show them around. Xav was just first to take the offer! I spent 4 days in the city with Courtney and Xav. I usually just come and go. I spend half my week there and the rest of it with the kids up north. This was a true test for me to see how well I know this city. Courtney lives outside of the city so i've never really taken the public bus system on that side of town. I'm happy to say I nailed it and got Xav to downtown on his first day in SF. Union Square is beautiful at this time of year. The tree lighting is coming up, and i'm so excited to finally see the lights turn on. It's not on now, but it still is a beautiful sight to see. Xav loves skylines, so I took him to some of the best lookout spots in downtown. Not many know this, but you can actually go into cooperate offices and ask to use their roof. You just have to sign in and then a guard will lead you to the top. I never really explored the top of SF. For the past year, i've just been at the bottom, enjoying on the ground adventures with Courtney. I got a little emotional seeing the views from the top of SF. You know with my situation, I may not get to see views like this one day. Thanks to Xav, I will now come up here and people watch from certain locations we got to visit. It reminded me of the times when I would go to Beverly Hills and just get inspired by the people around me. It was nice to see the blue sky and open up to Xav about our personal relationships from his girlfriend, to my boyfriend, work and comparing the 2 places I call home, SF and LA. Xav reminded me, life in SF is kind of quiet. I mean, LA was always loud. But this is the first time I noticed that SF is more quiet, especially from the top of skyscrapers. We made our way down for sunset at the bay bridge, AKA my dad's hard work. I don't talk about this in my diary a lot, but my dad paints some of SF's landmarks. The bay bridge is one of them. I always get so much pride within me, when i get to show the bridge to my loved ones. I go here sometimes you know. I just find it peaceful. I like to come out to the pier and just have a beer and ponder about life. There was no beer this time, but I still pondered while Xav took some shots of his own. I left Xav to take his pictures and stumbled upon a jedi training group. You read that correctly, JEDI training group. Jedi as in Star Wars. I sort of geeked out real hard and started taking stalker pictures of them. Never in my life have I seen someone use a lightsabers in public. My boy Tyson loves Star Wars like me, so I took as many pictures as I could to share with him. Now I wonder if they have any openings for this class. I mean, I'll sign up, LOL. As I walked away and waited for Xav, I looked out at the city and thought about everything I've done this year, and I just think to myself, what beautiful rode I have walked on for the last 9 months.
Day 2 and my feet hurt from the day before. Courtney is lucky she has classes because she didn't have to walk the full 17 miles we walked yesterday. I'm all for long distance cardio, but the shoes that I wear are NOT made for walking, LOL. Xav being from France and all, wanted to have a croissant for breakfast. We spent half an hour looking for one or something similar. We finally found one at Embarcadero. It was at this gluten free shop. You know, you can get this at Safeway for like $1... Xav paid $4.00 for one. It was really good, but still, it was $4. I'm really into matcha lattes. I drink the hell out of them. I headed to Steven's old work, Pete's, to grab one before I took Xav to Pier 39. Once again they are all decked out for the holidays. Xav picked up some souvenirs to bring back to his family. His mom visited SF years ago and she was really fond of it. I'm glad he got to come and experience it for himself. Now the 2 of them can add their adventures to their shared bond. Since Xav arrived he has been asking to visit Coit Tower. God, I can't stand that fucking tower. I went there with my brothers Zach and Braeden back in 2016. We walked up this fucking hill. Not just one, but 3.... I hate that walk, I hate that walk, I HATE that walk. I knew we were going to have to walk up that hill again today. But my mind was set on fashion and not comfort. So I decided to wear my boots that have a heel. BIG MISTAKE. My feet were throbbing going up to the top. We just went up there to see if there was any kind of good view. The air quality has been horrid, since the fires from Malibu and Paradise took over the state. Anyways, we weren't about to pay $20 to enter Coit Tower. When Braeden and Zach came with me, they tried to charge us that amount. NO NO NO. Walking up the hill is enough. We weren't able to get the best shots up there, so I told Xav, let's go to Lombard and you can find some good shots there. We called an uber to come and get us. This guy straight up REFUSED to give us a ride. We had already been waiting 20 mins. He comes to get us and says his app is down and he is unable to give us a ride. I didn't know what to do and Xav was already livd. I don't know what this driver expected from us. So we took a breath and ordered another one. Luckily our new Uber driver told us we can get a refund from the guy who refused to pick us up. After another slew of up hill walks, we finally made it to Lombard. I don't stop by Lombard often, but i'm in the area every now and then. My dad loves to come for jogs up and down the narrow stairs. I'm dead serious. I would not do that, I probably would fly off the street. Aren't the people who live there, kind of annoyed that people are always out taking pictures in front of their house? I would be livid if someone did that in front of my property all the damn time. Xav really wanted to capture the area, so being the outgoing guy that he is, he walked to the middle of the street and started taking shots. This guard, shockingly Lombard has security now, anyways, she freaked out. She started screaming, "My Guy, My Guy, OH MY GOD, You are in the MIDDLE of an INTERSECTION, SIR SIR". She had an Oakland accent and looked bored out of her mind, until Xav stepped in the middle of the street. Safety is important and all, but she was so fucking funny. The way she went batshit crazy made our day. But for real, she was bored out of her mind, until Xav started taking pictures. We made our way back to Pier 39 to grab some lunch. Pier 39 at lunch time is a drunk guys haven. We were walking and this wasted guy stops Xav and says "hey you, nsycnc, fuck you"... He was so drunk, he should have fell in the water to wake up. I'm all for turning up, but not being a hot mess while doing so. We witnessed this robbery go on at CVS as well. So this guy walks out of the store with a Stella, you know the beer I had to promote earlier this year, well that one, and 2 SF sweatshirts. Let me tell you, the guard could care less. He didn't even chase after the guy or stop him. I guess today is the day that all the crazies just didn't seem to give a fuck about what they are doing. If you were there, you would say, what kind of town is this. Then again we are living in the Trump world, so it's sadly not surprising. I promised Xav I would take him to the not so Golden Gate Bridge. I keep telling my dad, can ya'll repaint it. It's literally peeling. Anyways, we met up with my friend Roger who invited us down below the bridge to take some photos on his trolley. He drives a trolley around and was sweet enough to let us use it for pictures. It is windy as fuck, below the bridge. We stayed there for a good 2 hours taking pictures and waiting for the sun to set. By the time sunset came around we ordered another Uber to take us to the top of the bridge. Once again, this fool of a driver, refused to pick us up. This guy couldn't find the bottom of the bridge and canceled our order. It just seems like he was so lazy to take out his phone and look at the damn map. I ordered another one and luckily this one had the brains to pick us up at the right location. Once we made it to the top we walked across the bridge. I may love looking out from the top of skyscrapers, but i get so fucking nervous walking across this bridge. Ever since I saw the movie San Andres, starring the Rock... I get so scared. I kept to myself as Xav obviously enjoyed shooting the bridge. The guard came up to us and asked us if we could hurry because the bridge was closing. Since when does the Golden Gate close? Nonetheless, we finished up and headed back downtown to end the night with some retail therapy. P told me that clothing is like double the price of what it is here in America, so Xav further solidified that notion when he bought a ton of clothes because the price is just so much cheaper here than there. Isn't that something, clothes are cheaper here, than in France. By the time we finished shopping it was almost midnight. It was a long day filled with crazy Uber drivers and crazy people in general. I sometimes forget how open SF is. How free people tend to be here. I guess that's what makes it special. No matter how obscure some of the people are here, that bridge still stands as symbol for people like me, who feel accepted in a city that accepts everyone for their flaws.
We started the day a little later today. It's 9am and I slept in. I met with Xav around 10 because I was face-timing the kids who want Uncle DD to come back to them. I'm usually there on pick up days, but I wasn't this time. We are going to have to get used of me not being there on pick up days. It does feel weird though, very weird. I miss the kids, but it's nice to be out living a life, so that way I can share my stories with them, one day. Xav and I walked around Golden Gate Park. You know this park has literally nothing to eat. So we ended up eating at the De Young Museum Cafe. When I went to the Badass Bitches tour with Courtney in June, we never ate there. The prices were insane. Xav and I felt so out of place, because literally everyone in there looked rich. No joke, they really did. We were so hungry though, so we ate whatever we could. We took an uber to the Palace Of Fine Arts. While Xav shot I facetimed the kids for a bit. I haven't taken them to this side of town, so I probably will, one day soon. Roger told me I should take Xav to the Mission District to see the art streets. So we hopped on Uber and they drove us to that side of town. It's Wednesday and traffic was horrendous. It took us almost 2 hours to get to that side of town. By the time we got there we were already ready to head back to Courtney's side of town. I told Xav we will go to Twin Peaks before he leaves. I ordered Uber and we went to the very top. Let me tell you, it was so hard to breathe up there. The air was so bad. But we made do and waited for the sun to set so we could see the stars within the city lights, light up. There is something about Twin Peaks, especially at night time. Everyone who is up there shares a moment together. I looked around me and saw every single person up there, taking in the beauty of this city and admiring the love it has within it. You can see all the lights and just imagine what all the people are doing with their daily lives. It's fascinating that each and every one of us are in that moment watching as we live in it and the world goes on around us. I'm very fortunate that Xav was able to come and spend some time with me. I'm so happy that I got to show him around and get to appreciate the city I have been in for the past year, a little more. If i'm being honest Xav made me miss my other loved ones a lot more. Having a piece of France here in SF, in the form of a bro, that for me is just so cool. I hope that more of my loved ones will find some time to come over this way and see me, before I eventually head away from this loving and open city. I'm glad I got to send Xav back to LA with some funny ass memories and some sights that we'll always cherish. I'll forever cherish the pictures he took for me and that feeling of being kids taking on a big city. I'll look forward to the future, until I see my brother again. But for now, our stories must part ways and I must head towards the holiday hustle and bustle.
Farewell mon brother, Merci pour tout.
And with that our little adventure is over, but the door for more is open wide and I look forward to seeing where this holiday season takes me.
Photographer: Xavier Wesley, Courtney Johnson , and Dom Baza
What i'm wearing:
Jackets - Sunrise Kingdom, Calvin Klein, Good Fellow
Shirts - Apt 9 & Good Fellow
Jeans - H&M
Shoes - Vans & Apt 9
Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title
PAGE 89, Page 90, Page 91
Stories From My Life - Chapter 9
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What I'm Wearing: Shirt - Forever 21, Jeans - Adam Levine Collection, Shoes - Good Fellow
START OF: Chapter 7
"Girls Like You"
Summer is finally here. It is time to explore familiar surroundings and learn to see things from a different perspective. It has been an experience to finally learn about these different areas of San Francisco and all the great people I have gotten to meet over the last few months since I surrendered. With every single word, I open up more and more. I’m speaking out more and more about things that are important. Things that need to be spoken aloud. I was honored to receive a message from someone who works for museum hacks. Cody approached me to attend a museum tour called “Badass Bitches”. By reading that title it may seem like something weird, but it’s a tour about women. Not just any women, badass bitches who are powerful and empowering. I am outspoken about a lot. I am proud to be a feminist, I am proud to support woman’s rights, I am proud to speak up about gender equality. These are things that we need to support, especially now, in this society that we live in. My sister Courtney is a badass bitch! So I obviously asked her to come along with me for the journey. I didn’t know what to expect, but what we learned and saw made us appreciate the term bitch even more.
Bitch is not a foul word unless you choose to use it as a foul word. It can honestly be an empowering word, if used correctly. Especially now in a world with woman who are at the forefront standing up against these predators from the #metoo movement and beyond. These women are shedding their fears and showcasing their true badass bitch nature. Courtney and I met up with our tour guide Kayla. From the moment we met her and our tour partners, we knew it was going to be a fun time. Now I’m not going to break down every detail of this tour. I want people to go out and take this tour for themselves. I want people to go and learn firsthand what a true badass bitch is. However, I will talk about our experience and what an amazing time we had with Kayla and museum hacks, at such a renowned museum apart of San Fran’s rich history. I have always admired the DeYoung Museum. I am in the area shooting a lot of the time, but I have never actually been inside this beautiful museum made of copper. Kayla thought us about the history and all the women who make this museum better. Some of the women you may not even know their name. For museum hacks to have tour guides like Kayla, it makes the learning experience more fun. Kayla asked us to name a badass bitch who inspires us. A badass bitch, that is not our mom. So I chose Jenny Quattrucci. As you guys already know after telling part of Jenny's story within this narrative, I had to choose her. It only felt right because what Jenny has done over the past few weeks for her students, that is something a TRUE badass would do. She stepped up to the plate, went against the dark side and got her funding for her students, so that they can build their own rebellion, with a fierce badass bitch of a leader. After leading us on a scavenger hunt within the African section of the museum, Kayla ended up dropping some sick lines about Kate Warren. I'm not going to sit here and drop every line she said, isn't that copyright?... Please don't sue me Kayla, lol. I want people to go on this tour and experience this genius poetic live and in action. As you can see our trip with Museum Hacks was not boring, it was interactive and Kayla kept us active by feeding us knowledge about these incredible women, in such fun ways. We went into a room of paintings and had to reenact uncomfortable poses women had to do when getting their old school selfies back in the day. Because let's be real these self portraits were the original selfies. At the hour mark we took a break and went our separate ways for a little bit. Courtney and I went on a little stroll of the rooms we saw prior with Kayla. We discussed how these women we were learning about really are the beating heart of what it means to be a women with power. Majority of the time women do the real work in this world. I am a man, i'm not American, I don't get treated with the same respect the average white male does, but I get treated with more respect than the average woman, and let me tell you that is fucked up. I think the men in this world forget we come from a male and female. Our mother's are the first woman we truly get to know. Everyone is raised differently, but it is sad to see a male dominated world try to push women to the back of the stage instead of the spotlight they deserve to stand in. It sad that men think they can overpower women because they have a part of their body they can trap within the woman. Men are stupid that way. Women are strong, in fact women are stronger than men. I hate this me too movement because it hurts to see these women come forward and tell the stories of the nightmare they have been burying inside of them for so long. I also admire the me too movement, because women are speaking up and finally standing in the light, pushing these monsters that haunted them away and speaking their truth. Our world is dominated by men who try to overpower women and shut them up because their foul minded little minds think that they make better decisions than women. I think they forget, 100% of the time our mother's are always right. It is sad that certain men in this world forget the sacrifices their mother's made for them growing up. Sure it takes 2 to be a parent, but a mother carries you in her womb, goes through pain to bring you out into this world, only for you to grow up and loose yourself to this sad reality that we live in. I hope that one day my nephews can grow up and the reality of woman being the higher power is real. We see seeds of it being planted now. It us up to us men and woman to stand together to make sure these seeds are watered so that they grow into something beautiful for the children of tomorrow. I hope that a woman like Kayla will exist years from now, and inspire young girls by telling the stories of the women that came before them, I hope that these stories will inspire the young boys to treat every woman like the queens they truly are.
I hope that the notion of having to use names like JK Rowling or EL James will never again be a thing to sell more books. I hope that men will stop trying to take credit for a woman's hard work, because that is still very much an ongoing issue. I hope that more woman push against the odds like Jenny Quattrucci and take back what is right. I hope that one day a woman can step into the highest power and show that she can do a better job than the bag of Cheetos ruling over us now. I hope that museum hacks continues to have woke tours like this, and woke tour guides like Kayla so we can learn and come out of the experience with an even greater respect for women and museums that hold beautiful pieces of their stories.
I give museum hacks props for having tours that are an experience worth every penny. By the end of the day Courtney and I just couldn't stop raving about how fun this journey was. It was like going on a school field trip, but more fun. I would totally go on another adventure with Museum Hacks. Especially if it is a tour that is as woke as the one we just went on. The De Young Museum, I am so happy we got to experience the wonders this beautiful location holds. I can't describe what it is like to step into a place that houses so many unique pieces made by beautiful men and women of all colors from around the world. I may only see out of one eye, but I do know when something is beautiful and this whole experience was.
Photographer: Courtney Johnson & Dom Baza
Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title
Stories From My Life - Chapter 7
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Stories From My Life
(APRIL 17- PRESENT)