and Fourteen years later…


I woke up, fourteen years ago this last Sunday – February 22, 2001 in a different world than the day before. It was the first day of this long ordeal you have been following.

See, those of you who have been following this journal,  or have only known me the last ten or 12 years or so have no idea about my former life. The above thingy? That was my third car (or ours). I had just sold the Corsica, but we had two vans (my wife and I) – the first one that she “had to have” and the second one that she “had to have” because the first wasn’t good enough.

Me? I bought the ’99 Mustang GT convertible because my wife used to withhold sex for months at a time as a means of control and I finally decided that going fast in a hot car was almost as good.

Sometimes it is actually better. There was this time out near San Simeon once where…

Anyway, unlike what would ensue in the months and year or two to come. On the day before I had walked into Prima Publishing to my executive’s job where I answered only (if at all) to the VP, the COO and the CEO (so like never really except to report my successes and ask for a raise). I had a small but loyal staff of hand-picked employees who were amazing and I had just invented “eGuides” which was going to revolutionized online gaming strategy (and a lot of other industries…as they had sen to patent my invention)  and make me a rich guy.

We owned two houses and had perfect credit, having paid down all our debt. When I went on to the lot at Roseville Ford they checked me out and the salesman came back beaming “Mr. MacDonald, you can have any car on the lot!”

I chose the Stang having no idea that two years later I would be out-jockeyed by a clever repo man hwho got the claw into it by a nice bit of sleight-of-hand.

But by then I was ruined.

The crash hit those of us near the top creative element the way a major league baseball strike hits a top hitter. It is irrelevant that you batted .346, drove in 117 runs and hit 32 home runs last year – your industry is not playing any GAMES. There are no paychecks for you – not now – not for a good long while.

And my wife? Well she just got the divorce thing going and I had given her all the ammo she needed the month after the lay-off: I went to a 28-day program and admitted I had a problem.

Or as Bugs Bunny would say “What a Marooon!”

Still in love with my wife; devoid of any future in my industry, shacked with a now public “illness” that everyone says is a “disease” but treats like a moral failure (do not let any one kid or lie to you – EVERYONE treats it as a moral failure or a failure of will no matter what they say). And I was 11 years away from learning what the real enemy was: a mental illness and getting the simple treatment/cure).

Good luck with that Mac. Oh…and one more thing? Don’t whine…it’s …um…not manly.


So I learned not to whine, not to blame and how to live in some of the weirdest, roughest and most bizarre of circumstances (including living in the “MacShack” two doors down from my Ex-wife and my two former houses). I’d go out at 4 a.m. when I could not sleep to get some air and see her boyfriend sneaking out of my former house. Just shake my head.

I was no better- at all. I lived with several women and broke their hearts because I drank. I mean I wouldn’t for a time – but mental illness always trumps all.

Anyway – I wasn’t always homeless, poor, unemployed with no credit etc… and the irony is that was when I was full-blown in my addiction.

Now I am addicted to nothing (oh..well, possibly coffee?) eat healthy, and I am saving myself for marriage (haha- wow).

And last Sunday, Feb. 22, 2025 -14 years later to the day- Janine Shafer walked through the door of the Starbacks at Grand and Broadway in Oakland. And I almost laughed outloud (and I think she kinda did).

“Yeah…it’s you.”

“Yeah..c’mere and give me a hug.”


A New Partnership


A serious gear shifter.

Mark my new “partnership” with Don Hornes will change both our lives for good.

As previously mentioned, Don and I locked horns the first time we met – but all it did was bring out the steel in both of us. We have had a chance to observe each other in a variety of different situations over the last 5 weeks or so – and that has just added depth and knowledge to our mutual initial gut impressions.

Which was correct on both scores.

We share a common desire to serve people; specifically those who are homeless and see them delivered into better situations – tangibly. We share a common intelligence,ability to communicate and a gregarious good humor.

And we are both madmen.

Where we differ is Don is a natural and unrelenting salesman in an overt and extroverted way; whereas I am the same in an introverted way. It is a perfect combination.

In our own ways we both have a vision for an Azotus Cafe. He has a different name for his – but it is remarkably the same.

But that is way down the Road.


Both of us know enough to focus on this first house – rent it; get the right people in it; establish the right rules for me to enact and keep consistent (and graciously applied) – and do it all in two weeks.

In the meantime I will be building his first website for his plumbing business: Spyke’s 23 &1/2 Hour Plumbing! (His idea on the non-24 hour thing – (brilliant as “24-hour” is invisible to everyone now).

Much needed bank for the Macman (I will not be paying rent at the new house. My compensation for being “House Manager” is free room and utilities).

This  brings up questions as I seem to be becoming more ensconced in Oakland (it will only deepen now). I will be getting more accounts for freelance work HERE; working at painting again for local galleries; and – at my father’s suggestion – start doing some comedy at local clubs.


If I could point to one of the things that several bouts with Homelessness has actually BLESSED me with (that normal people will probably never have or get) it is the ability to shift quickly from one life possibility to a whole different one (in utter reality and without taking the edge off with a pill or a glass of wine) in a very short period of time.

When I was a pastor I thought I had to shift fast (and I did. One minute you are talking joy with a person, then you turn and someone’s father has died – you had better be able to shift FAST ) – but tnothing like what I have had to do increasingly over these last years. My life can change in a day – the way a man;s life changes in afilm – and he has to have enough within himself to roll with it; keep hi head and re-work a new scenario.

I have failed in this many times – even to the point of almost dying. But I never make the same mistake twice. You can foo l me with a wicked pitch in one game. Throw it again and I will take you deep. I adapt, learn…grow.

On Friday it was within a span of eight minutes – from $189k job as potential world-wide director of brand and marketing for Jawbone to “house Manager” in Oakland making bank, instead, doing websites, copy-editing and sell oil paintings.

A year ago I was supposed to make a living selling oil paintings in Santa Cruz but was too afraid. Now I am not afraid of anything (well…almost anything). I’ll paint them and I’ll sell them.

My point is, that eight minutes could snap a person’s neck if they had no real training – but I have been trained well the last 14 years; and particularly the last six.


Today I am sick – I mean really sick. This is where the training comes in handy. I know exactly what to do. I know it is a major trigger. I told several people about it; cancelled going to the city for church (sent a note to my pastor); am on high alert (because while I don’t fear hardly anything anymore the one thing I definitely an upper respiratory infection while being homeless. It is one of my few vulnerable points.)

It’s funny, no? I am not afraid of guns, knives or the harsh judgment of others. But a really bad head cold that could spill in pneumonia freaks me out.

If I was ever going to drink it would be a day like today – if it got more painful.

But I won’t. I will go right into the pain if it happens. I promise. I’ll take that bullet and watch it go in and out the other side if I have to. I have alerted others.

Like I said, I try to never make the same mistake twice. I’ve just made a lot of “first mistakes.”

God is about transformation if you allow. On our own? People do not change. I certainly would not. But I am in constant change. My gearbox glows sometimes – but I am alive; never bored and God is running this show – not me. That becomes clearer and clearer.



I did some good self-care yesterday and am on the mend; strength returning; had a good meeting with Don. Still need some free-lance as I am utterly broke – but I am happy and content today. I shifted through yesterdays twists and turns with no small amount of artistry like a Formula One racer. I had indeed learned from past mistakes and took the hairpins with some dexterity. THAT is an art God wants us to learn. Why? I have no idea, but the word “sanctification” comes to mind.

Enjoying Anotther Man’s Nuts


Homeless folk are very generous with each other – more-so than I think regular folk when you get right down to it (though my friends and family are more generous than most). If It is common to give a third of your remaining money to a brother or sister in need, or maybe even half (this is often only $3-$5)  figuring something good will happen soon.

It usually does.

I gave out almost my last reserves the other day. I was about to contact my parents for a small advance that would have taken days – then I got wind I may have some freelance on Monday; then I got wind my parents are in town today and wanna take me to lunch. It is possible they will lay a twenty on me to help assuage things till Monday knowing I dislike too much help (I have more to say on this later).

In the same spirit, one of my friends at the St. Mary’s shelter, Stuart came by when I was on the computer and laid some Pomegranate soaked pistachios on me. Said I’d love them.

I did.


I killed it on the interview with Jawbone yesterday. If it was the World Series I went 4 for 5 with two homers – sheer muscle. I took educated chances just like I would with their products (which I had studied in great detail). I knew what they needed to do – it was all about the narratives – or lack thereof – for two of their three main products. Even their “UP” system had a thin one (nice, but thin).

When it was my turn to ask them questions about their company I went deep and found out significant details. It could actually work, though I would be single-handedly replacing an entire ad agency in-house. Still, I reasoned it was just ME against whole staffs of Lollapalooza and NPR when it came to Webby time in 2006 and I know content and I know audience.

I’m the idea/Vision guy – and I never lack that.

Margaret, the women interviewing me, was clearly excited by the end of the interview. Her one concern (the one at bat I did not get a hit) was I had no “metrics” from any of my previous jobs. She was going to have to run this by the Senior VP to get me to the next level. She did not seem worried.

She shoud have been. He axed me.

Was I discouraged? No.

On Wednesday I had sent my resume and 30 minutes later I had gotten an email back requesting a swift telephone interview two days later from a huge company with International business. I had gotten that interview and clearly and cleanly scorched it for 45 minutes.

I had not won the World Series – but I had played in one right out of the gate.

I would be back. I’m a contender – no doubt about it.


But is that God’s will for me? Is it my calling? What of my inner calling to the Homeless that I speak of so often?

And what is up with me lately and dating sites?

Oh you don’t know about that?

Of that’s because I am writing so much LESS. And why would that be? Ohhh..maybe because of said dating sites?

Ya think?

It was causing some inner turmoil inside. ..but not for reasons you might think. It has more to do with calling and attention.

I am not whining when I say I am meant to run and run fast… I am a race car meant for high speed. I get bored easy. If I have nothing to do (and I cannot just job search all day long …you try it) I will go nuts.

Is it possible that I am lonely. Sure..though if that is true I rarely feel it. And if it was true, then when I go on these dates (and I have had many) I would certainly avail myself of the quite frequent offer of intimacy or at least a little affection. But the fact is I have only had two dates where I had any real fun and there was no chemistry there that way (very classy, beautiful and intelligent women however.) I’m too smart to produce wreckage in other people’s lives (even if they see it as “harmless fun”) – and I sure as hell am not going to do so to myself.

Elizabeth+PerkinsI really liked the long date with the woman who looked like Elizabth Perkins (dead ringer). Smart, sophisticated and funny. But…nothin.

She said it well “You are possibly the most interesting man I have ever met – but I don’t think we are headed in the same direction.”


Now some of you are saying “what business does he have dating when he is homeless?”

What business do you have being married given your issues? At least mine isn’t moral.

(Oh that was soooo cold…but so was yours if you think about it…remember, some of you actually follow a homeless man?)

The reality is that a certain number of women will not date a man without a job because they fear co-dependency.

There is good reason for this if the man is looking for this or will allow it.

I allowed this in the past (for sure) and it hurt others and it hurt me (every bit as much).

I don’t allow it anymore, and I set the boundaries on MY SIDE of the fence so the woman has no say whatsoever. I simply will not accept any help at all – ever.

So any fear is simple projection and has nothing to do with me.

And it will be over very soon anyway.  Which makes me sad, because I liked the idea of someone liking me for me – and not my success. Oh well. .


I have stopped the online dating. It was taking to much time and women live too much in fear. I have found one really smart courageous, funny, tall drink of water who is really pretty awesome – in Illinois. So that is years off. So for now I am retired.


“Did you enjoy eating my nuts?” Stuart said slyly this morning.

“I enjoyed…er…the pomegranate dusted pistachio snacks you shared with me yesterday – why yes -thank you Stuart,” I said amidst giggls from older men from behind.

I am in a Senior Center but it might as well be a Junior High.

I had talked with Don last night, one of the staff members who runs the place. The first time Don and I met we got into a row over a rule he mistakenly though I had broken. I didn’t back down. It escalated – causing me to employ ALL of my best disciplines at full capacity. It ended with my “blessing him” and peacefully walking away at the right time.

When I came back that night he was right there and said “You still love me?”

“Of course,” I said. “never stopped,” I grinned and hugged him.

It was at that moment that Don knew I was his man to be “House Manager” for his dream house for homeless folk in Oakland. “You have steel man,” he told me last night as he unfolded his plans. “I wanna get this going in two weeks. You will stay for free as you run the thing. You can take the garage and we’ll insulate it if you want to give you room for your painting.”

I am also doing three websites for hire for him.

So I went from possibly making $180k to running a Homeless House in Oakland and doing my painting and websites in the span of about ten minutes.

I was actually kinda happy with the new news.

Now, I cannot explain that and I don’t have to. I am also kinda happy about not dating anymore, and no I cannot explain that either.

God is weird.

So I packed up this morning so Fred of New York and I could walk down to Starbucks and talk about the new House (he will be there too). But before we did Stuart had to pipe up one more time.

“Hey Mac!” he said loudly, “…it takes a Big Man to admit that he enjoys another man’s nuts.”

And with that everyone else went off into their morning just a little happier and laughing.