Friday, December 31, 2004

So much for almost a full 5 days off! Somehow it's gotten intensely, incredibly, insanely busy, and most of it doesn't revolve around work. I don't know what it's all about, but that's the way it is. I'll be back tomorrow with more for you. Have a wonderful evening everyone.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

When I read my 'scope a second time (see entry below), my mind stuck on a certain word, quite foreign to me. Autohagiography.

From Weird Words:

"Writing about oneself in an adulatory way.

Autohagiography has the same relationship to autobiography as a publicist’s puffery has to objective truth. So far as I know it hasn’t yet reached the pages of any major dictionary, being one of those words that lurks unnoticed in the linguistic undergrowth, only occasionally emerging to startle the unwary reader. The first use of it I can trace is in the title of the book The Confessions of Aleister Crowley; An Autohagiography, which was published in 1970. I’ve also seen the adjective autohagiographical, but it seems to be rare to the point where it is reinvented each time it’s used. The root word hagiography comes from the Greek agios, “holy”, and was at first applied to books which described the lives of the saints. Such books had a marked tendency towards uncritical descriptions. So sometime about the end of last century hagiography broadened its sense to that of any biographical work that flatters or idolises its subject."

Consider the fact my painting has ceased due to massive doubt around my self-worth, you think Brezsny hit the nail on the head when he suggested I write my autohagiography? Next to the mission statement, this too sounds like a worthwhile exercise.
Here is this week's Freewill Astrology by Rob Brezsny. From here on, I'll be using their archive link (which I never have in the past). Makes more sense, eh?

And I'll share mine.
"The coming year will be a perfect time for you to write your autobiography, or even your autohagiography. You will also attract cosmic favors if you create a new mission statement and an updated manifesto summing up your philosophy of life. Re-examine and revise your life story in 2005, Capricorn. Get in the habit of imagining yourself as the star of a hero's journey. For extra credit, heed the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Make your own Bible. Collect all the words and sentences that in your reading have been like a blast of triumph."

I had to laugh because last year I wrote an entry about our personal mission statements. Let's see if I can find it.

Oh here it is. It's about halfway down the entry.

I never sat down to write it, but I think about it often. Why do I exist? What am I here for? If I continually ask why after coming up with an answer for each...until I get to the root...what would that final answer be?

Mission statements explain the reason for an organization or individual.

Example -
Question: Why am I here, or why is it important for me to be here?
Answer: Because I need to make the most of my potential.
Question: Why?
Answer: Because that's part of being human. Striving.
Question: Why?

And on...and on.

I'm not going further with that right now, because it gets really personal and needs some digging. But pushing the 'why question' really helps to strip the bullshit away.

Maybe this is a good time in my life to really explore that. Maybe I'll have to push myself to sit down and see how far I can get with answering the 'why question.'

(Mark Morford is taking some holiday time and so there aren't any columns to link to)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

A little Susan Sontag:

"16. Thus, the Camp sensibility is one that is alive to a double sense in which some things can be taken. But this is not the familiar split-level construction of a literal meaning, on the one hand, and a symbolic meaning, on the other. It is the difference, rather, between the thing as meaning something, anything, and the thing as pure artifice."
-1964, Sontag's Notes on "Camp"


"What I want people to think about is how serious war is. How it is elective. It's not an inevitable state of affairs. War is not the weather. I want people to think about what war is. And at the same time, I know it's very hard. I end the book by saying, in a way the world is divided into people who know-- have had direct experience of war, and people who haven't.

And if you've had a direct experience of war, and I think every single soldier, or journalist who's been-- in-- you know, in the trenches and the front line or an observer-- or human rights worker, or anybody who has actually had a direct experience, prolonged direct experience with war, knows that when you go home, and people say, "How was it?" Or "What was it like?" You really can't explain. You can't-- you-- you-- you feel as if you can never tell them what it was really like.

That it is both more horrible than any kind of pictures could convey, and maybe one of the most horrible parts of it is that it becomes a normality. It becomes a world that you can live in. There is a culture of war."

-April 2003, from the transcript of an interview on NOW with Bill Moyers


"Photographs convert works of art into items of information. They do this by making parts and wholes equivalent. When I was in Orvieto, I could see the whole facade by standing back, but then I couldn't see the details. Then I could move close and see the detail of whatever was not higher than, say, eight feet, but there was no way whereby my eye could blot out the whole. The camera elevates the fragment to a privileged position. As Malraux points out, a photograph can show a piece of sculpture - a head, a hand - which looks superb by itself, and ' this may be reproduced alongside another object which might be ten times bigger but, in the ' format of the book. occupies the same amount of space. In this way. Photography annihilates our sense of scale.

It also does queer things to our sense of time. Never before in human history did people have any idea of what they looked like as children. The rich commissioned portraits of their children, but the conventions of portraiture from the Renaissance through the nineteenth century were thoroughly determined by ideas about class and didn't give people a very reliable idea of what they had looked like."

-from an interview with Geoffrey Movius, published in Boston Review


Susan Sontag wins the German peace prize in recognition of her contribution to the defense of free thought.
From Reuters

Susan Sontag, Writer and Critic, dies at 71
by Claudia Parsons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Author and social critic Susan Sontag, one of the strongest voices of intellectual opposition to U.S. policies after the Sept. 11 attacks, died on Tuesday at age 71 at a New York cancer hospital.

Sontag, who had suffered from leukemia for some time, was known for interests that ranged from French existentialist writers to ballet, photography and politics.

She was the author of 17 books and a lifelong human rights activist, and her work has been translated into more than 30 languages. Among her best known works was a 1964 study of homosexual aesthetics called "Notes on Camp."

Sontag was among the first to raise a dissenting voice after Sept. 11, 2001, in a controversial New Yorker magazine essay arguing that talk of an "attack on civilization" was "drivel."

She ignited a firestorm of criticism when she declared that the attacks were not a "cowardly attack" on civilization but "an act undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions."

Sontag has since been an outspoken critic of President Bush over his response to the Sept. 11 attacks and particularly the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

"I can confirm she passed away this morning," a spokeswoman at New York's Sloan Kettering hospital said but declined to give any more details.

Born in New York in 1933, Sontag grew up in Arizona and Los Angeles before going to the University of Chicago, and later Harvard and Oxford. She wrote novels, non-fiction books, plays and film-scripts as well as essays for The New Yorker, Granta, the New York Review of Books and other literary titles.

A longtime opponent of war and a human rights activist, Sontag spent several years in Sarajevo and staged Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" there under siege in the summer of 1993.

From 1987 to 1989 she was president of the American Center of PEN, an international writers' organization dedicated to freedom of expression, where she led a number of campaigns on behalf of persecuted and imprisoned writers.

In 2003 she was awarded a peace prize in Germany and the Prince of Asturias Prize in Spain. Earlier honors included the U.S. National Book Award for her novel "In America" in 2000.

Have you been keeping up with the news on the monster quake and tsunamis? In addition to massive death toll, what threw me on the 26th, in the first article, was a line that mentioned the impact of the quake was so great it shook the earth off it's rotation for a bit.

We are very, very small.

As I stepped out of my apartment building, the cold hit my skin. There was frost everywhere. And there was fog. Still is. Standing on my steps before hitting the sidewalk I looked up. The remnants of the full moon pierced through the thick grey matter. It had a brightness that wasn't going to allow itself to be diminished. I stopped and stared. My eyes were glued to the big white ball. What a nice way to start my day.

Monday, December 27, 2004

I want...

- a walk around Green Lake and then a Red Mill burger, with their killer onion rings.

- more time off this week (although i'm only working Monday, Tuesday and 3 hours on Wednesday).

- a surprise check of $1,000 so I can get new tires, my car tuned up, renew my car registration and recement my crown (which is loose but I can't afford to get to the dentist right now).

- the new version upgrade of our donor software to magically happen while giving us instant knowledge of changes and a seamless transition.

-an assistant to do our 3,000 year end tax receipt letters.

- an extra week in January so I can go away at the end of it.

- to be able to paint again.

- someone to vacuum my apartment. And it would be a bonus if they did bathrooms.

- to be able to live by bartering.

- to finish the current batch of giving I'm working on so I can go home.

- Ben and Jerry's to be good for me. The more I eat, the quicker my metabolism.

- to never, ever, ever have to pay taxes to a homophobic, bigoted, racist, classist, militaristic, art and education hating government again.
I'm trying to blog. Yesterday I tried to blog. It ain't happening. I sit. I type. My mind wanders. I don't get more than a sentence and a half out when I think of something else, knowing that what I just wrote is garbage. So I'll surf. I'll read the paper. Check email one more time. I return my focus to half written thoughts and jibberish only to jump around again. It seems like I'm frozen. What can I say?

How about this?

Something big happened the other day in my session. Yeah, it's all about my painting and the dream I had last week. Thing is, I have no idea how to articulate what I'm feeling. Apparently it hasn't solidified itself in thoughts yet. A heavy sense of unease begats frustration. At times it feels like dark isolation. And the one truth that weaves itself through the mishmash of everything else is displacement. I feel lost.

People provide a satisying distraction. Yet even in the midst of laughter and love, my head still attempts to clarify my inner muddled mess.


Sunday, December 26, 2004

What a full day! Full in the people sense, but not in a bad way. It was good. Casa Hoss was good. And full in the belly way. We ate. And ate. And ate some more. I really enjoy these men. There's an ease. Some have known each other for over 15 years and there is the comfortableness that comes with that. Driving home I thought of what really constitutes family, other than blood.

I'm such a sucker. Even though I don't celebrate Christmas, I still enjoy some of the visuals. Such as smiling when I noticed Santa and a group of elves walking down the street, or tonight, when all the decorated homes were lit. It's festive. And I tend to get into the cheese or the class. As I've said before, I can get off on someone's joy.

That's it for now.
Sweet dreams everyone.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Want to know why I love my apartment?

Well, in addition to the landlord grabbing my hand and welcoming me home when I handed him my rental deposit, all the large windows which allow access to another world out there, the cobalt blue tile kitchen counter, the seafoam painted bathroom floor, the built in dresser which had an ice chest on the bottom where I store my painting flammables, the funky painted doors, the sound of someone playing the piano as I walk down the hall, the woodworking studio, the photo lab and the painting studio in the basement, the apartment cats, and the street cats who consider us family, it is an eclectic, bohemian type atmosphere. Even though we don't all know each a strange way we do. Friendly. Really friendly.

A couple other reasons: the owner of the building (who doesn't live here) paid for Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant for all those in the building who didn't have a place to go to. This morning I went out to grab a coffee. Someone had taped candy canes to every single door in the building. And two for those who had two people living in that particular apartment.

It was another reminder that I made a good choice. In spite of the noise outside (which now comes and goes), it is all good.
I didn't do much of anything today. I met Auxugen for coffee and then agreed to help him do his Christmas shopping, only because he was headed to the Hill, and I still had to find strawberries for the fruit salad I'm making for brunch tomorrow. This salad has fruit and cheese with an orange, basil dressing (with a bit of olive oil). The grocery store wasn't as frightening as I expected it to be. I suspect everyone who was out shopping was either downtown or at the malls. Afterwards it was a couple loads of laundry and then I zoned out on a bit of tv.

Malls and I no longer get along. When I moved to Seattle I tried to commit to never stepping foot in a mall again. But you know, never say never. I do have to say I did well for about 4 years. A few years back, the Bear and wonderboy pushed me off the wagon when they decided I needed to be introduced to Southcenter Mall, the sunday before Christmas. Yeah, it's another example of the Bear's sadism. :-)

Since then, I've gone a few times. It's been a direct beeline to the store I needed and then out again. Being in a mall reminds me why I don't like the bulk of our society and culture. I don't get trends in fashion. What's wrong with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt? I don't understand why people feel the need to wear massive amounts of perfume or cologne. And I realize I'm better off where I am. Away from most of mainstream. I hate the plastic, artificial, throw away, gotta have or die, attitudes that I see and feel in those types of environments. It's all about stuff. Just fucking stuff! Merchandise. Stuff. Ugh.

Anyway, I didn't expect to rant today. So I'm switching gears.

It's Christmas eve. Last year I was geared up for making the final Christmas break with my family. I did. It was fine. They actually understood. You know, my parents still have the capacity (much to my delight) to surprise me. No longer being Christian, I can't support the religious aspect. And with a detest of retail and "have to buy", I can't support the secular holiday either. Neither fit with my life.

This year, I've sat back, much more relaxed. The weird thing is the holiday still haunts me. Tradition is a powerful thing, isn't it? To choose to not celebrate the holiday is still a form of celebration. And yet, this celebration is held alone. It's strange spending the days doing regular stuff while it seems the rest of the world is in hypergear and on a different plane. So I set it up to do brunch tomorrow, with a mixed bag. Leather family and friends. Some who don't do Christmas for various reasons. And others who I'm sure do. But seeing it's a varied crew, it will be good. Christmas isn't the focus. It's about friends getting together.

I have more to write, but not sure how to write it. So I'm ending this here - and may or may not be back later. In the meantime, for whatever each of you celebrate, I hope it is good and filled with some peace. least filled with good questions that get your mind and gutt working. ;-)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I had forgotten all about this until Sir sent me the link yesterday.
Make your own snowflakes!
It's a fun time-waster.

Here's another seasonal site. What we put children through because it's really about us, not them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Remember when I wrote about my desire to create a Foundation for Freaks? That was sparked because I do NOT want others to go through what I've been through. And yet, maybe we all need to go through the hard stuff. Otherwise, how else would we learn? Where does character come from? Wisdom? Maturity? It's the fire that cleanses us.

But still, because I have a deep down need to be recognized, I want to recognize. I wish I had the ability, the capacity to offer that to others.

Here's another thing. One day while know...surfing like you surf...I came across a website for a man who is a masage therapist, a counselor, offers body work and Sacred Intimacy sessions. In addition, I saw him advertise something I'd never before seen. Holding sessions. Yes, I know you could get that through a Sacred Intimate. But until I saw it in print, I never considered the possibility and what that would mean. Imagine. To have someone who would hold you for an hour a week. No talking. Just holding. No expectations of anything else. Very clear boundaries. To be held. Deeply.

That idea hasn't left my head. When I can afford it, I wouldn't mind accessing that for myself. I don't believe it should be done unless you have some type of therapist to fall back on. I can imagine how just being held could bring up loads of stuff. As children, how many of us were actually held as much as we needed? In this world, it's not realistic. No matter how great our parents were. To be held.

Like the Foundation for Freaks, I mentioned to the shrink that one day, I'd like to be able to offer that to others. He said I'd be great at it. Maybe those who need holding the most can be the best holders? I know that if I were to do so, I would hook up with someone else's practice. Maybe work in conjunction with someone. Otherwise, alone, I'd be messing with things I'm not experienced with handling.

So, it's back to dealing with my shit first. Everything will fall into place. One small step at a time.

Sometimes I feel like such a drone, speaking of what I'm going through. At times, it feels like I'm the depressing blogger. My anxieties, my worries, my insecurities. But I suppose that you also see some of my passion, my joy and my excitement. My insights and my confusion. It's all wrapped up in the same big ball.

I'm being a lazy pig this vacation. Yesterday, I let go of the guilt when I came to that realization. I still want to varnish a few paintings. I still have a couple things I should do. And you know what? If it happens, it happens. If not, I'll do it another time. It dawned on me that my 2 weeks in June was a travel vacation. October's time, although I came back relaxed, was still involved with lots of people. I love having all this time to do something, nothing, whatever. No set plans except for brunch on Saturday morning.

It's after 5 and I've finally ventured out of my house. I'm at Septieme, for my first cup of joe today. This morning's caffeine fix came from a honey pear black tea I have in my cupboards. In a bit, I'll see the Bear and wonderboy. They called a couple hours ago and wanted to get together. Also, I'd like to spend some fun time with Auxugen. It's been a while since he and I have hung out.

But for some reason, it seems important to not make plans ahead of time. There's something to be said to waking, getting out of bed and know that there is no place you have to be. The feeling is the same as sinking into a deep bed with loads of down comforters and pillows. There is a sense of timelessness.
What can I do?

Mark Morford has a few suggestions. I've seen the lists a while back and don't believe I've posted them. I was still too bruised from the election. But I am a big believer in 'hit 'em where it hurts'. And that's the almighty fucking wallet. It's all about greed and profits. So what can I do? What can we do?

Listen to Morford. He says:
"Because I don't care how shriveled the souls of a given company's GOP-lovin' board of directors are, if they see profits dropping because all the shoppers in the huge and culturally potent blue cities -- the shoppers, in other words, who don't live in the red welfare states and hence who actually have a shred of disposable income and maybe a modicum of concern and integrity regarding who profits when they spend it -- if they notice that those shoppers are suddenly skipping nasty little Circuit City (98 percent to Repubs) and instead buy their compressed-plastic Japanese-made landfill-ready electronics at monstrous Price Club (98 percent to Dems), well, it sends them a message.

And the message is, in a calm and respectful nutshell, "Bite me."

So true Mr. Morford.

Speaking of red states and blue states. Do you remember the beautious Fuck The South rant? Have you really read it? Did you actually look at the links? It is brilliant.

I went back and gave it a second look. Tucked within, I found this treasure. It is an archived blog entry, dated September 27, 2004. Yeah, before the election. It's part of a network of Law blogs. The writer has a tidy little map that shows which states benefit from the federal tax policies and which states are actually footing that bill. Morford's column reminded me of this.

You have no idea how often I hear about queers who still shop at Walmart. That, in and of itself, is just about unforgivable to me. So not only do we not seem to care who we give our money to on a corporate level, but apparently we are doing the same on a federal level. Our pants are dropped to our ankles. We have willingly bent over and are screaming to any skank walking by to shove a fucking 2x4 up our asses. We really are allowing ourselves to get screwed. It is no one's fault but our own.

And, if you do take the time to care enough and read Morford's article, he reminds us it is about small steps. Let's just lift up our feet.

Now, how about a soothing dose of Rob Brezsny's Freewill Astrology?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

My dream and my session

I dreamt I had sex with my first woman lover. Next thing I knew I was alone in my apartment (much larger than my current one). My pants were still around my ankles but I didn't bother to pull them up. I left them that way. You see, I had to paint. Clumsily walking to my stash of paintings, I grabbed a large canvas. I noticed that the frame was wobbly and the canvas wasn't correctly prepped. But I wanted to paint. I had a large 4 inch brush that I loaded with blue paint and began working the background. My eyes dropped to the bottom of the painting and saw something I had previously painted. It looked like large patches of different shades of green. Yet when I turned my painting around to get a better look at it, I saw the beginnings of a portrait of a building, meticulously done. There wasn't even any green. It was creams and yellows. Perspective in order. Detailed. It surprised me because that's not the way I paint. But it was familiar. Somehow I remembered painting it. So I wasn't ready to destroy that section. I liked it and wanted to work it into whatever would happen now. I had the sense that I was tipsy. Drugged somehow.

There was a noise at my door and I hobbled over. Someone was trying to get in. I mumbled "go away" and tried to slam and lock the door. A piece of fabric stuck in the door jam and prevented it from locking. My heart pounded. I wondered why I felt drugged, shrugged it off and returned to my painting, my pants still around my ankles.

While working I sensed something. Turning around, I saw a man walk through my apartment. He had entered from the back. 3 or 4 other men followed him. I tried to yell at them, demanded they leave. But my mouth felt filled with cotton balls. "Get out of here or I'll call the cops" came out garbled. I hit the first guy on the shoulder. He responded, "don't touch me or I'll have you arrested". I was furious by his audacity. They continued to walk through my apartment and right out the door. I woke.

I just remembered this dream and then yesterday's therapy session came to mind.

You see, a few days ago, I took the cd made from the slides of my older work - 57 pieces total. Loaded it into iPhoto and found some great music. It's a classical, traditional piece done with an edge. Kinda like me.

I created a little 6 minute slideshow. I love it and can't wait to show it to my Seattle folks. Yes Bear, Hoss, Auxugen and'll get to see!

Yesterday, I brought my laptop to my session. At the beginning I told the shrink, "if we are going to continue with working on me you need to see who I was." I sat back while he looked and immersed himself in my work. Every once in a while he made sounds of surprise and approval.

me: I want to add photos of my current work to this but I'm afraid they won't stand up to the strength of these older ones. I was happy then. It was 3 years of full immersion in painting. When I worked a job for money, it was a warehouse job. Totally physical and didn't zap my creative energy. I carried my sketchbook all the time and was always working something. Lots of little sketches and thumbnails when I had a minute.

the shrink: we have to get you back there

me: I was a good painter then, but I wasn't aware. Now I'm becoming aware yet have gone from recently being a shitty painter to a nonpainter. Maybe the quality of painting you just witnessed will never come back.

shrink: wait and see. Imagine when you get through the worse of this. You'll be stronger and your painting will return. You'll have both.

me: okay. That means you have a big job ahead of you. I'm counting on you to help get me there.

And that's how I really feel. It's all about trust. I am trusting he can help, can guide. And I trust that if he can't, he'll let me know. This is a huge leap of faith on my part. Damn, life is so fucking hard sometimes.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I wanted to write this morning but didn't have anything to say. Also, I didn't have much time. AE was picking me up about 9am for breakfast. It's so good having him around and yet I know there must be an element of culture shock for him. Imagine living in a place where it's fairly peaceful, insulated from the chaotic, frenetic energy of our society. Only to poke your head out for almost three weeks, and have it be at Christmas time. Thrown into the midst of the fanatical rush of retail therapy and commercialism. To come from a community that is committed to living a mindful life and move into a world where the majority walk around in oblivion. Tough stuff.

Even though its my vacation, I popped into work this morning for a quick 20 minute job of processing a gift that came in via the website. A coworker mentioned that he saw me walking down Broadway on Saturday. He said I was glowing - happy in a way he hasn't seen me before. He saw I was with AE. I laughed and mentioned it was the Mountain energy that can't help but rub off on me when I smell it. I inhale deep, take it in through all my pores and holes.

I'm calmer about Christmas this year, having made the final break with family holiday time last year. There's less stress on my part. Although I do notice that I still need to surround myself with people on The Day. Otherwise, I have this overwhelming feeling I'm a loser, in some strange way. Crazy, isn't it? But it's there. I'll be heading to Hoss' for brunch with a bunch of other strays or those that need to get away from family. Solidarity. And as I mentioned to another blogger last week, it provides a loving buffer. And it doesn't hurt that Hoss is a great and sexy host. :-)

This morning I noticed something new. Energy. Real live energy. I had it. After Saturday afternoon with AE, I went home and pretty much didn't do anything, regarding speaking with people, until today. There was a small break in there for a quick breakfast with The Bear and wonderboy. I had to give wonderboy his overdue birthday gift.

The spark of life I felt was amazing. It showed me that I really need to be strict with grabbing good size chunks of quiet, alone time. For some reason, at this juncture of my life, I need lots of rest. If it means less social time with friends, so be it. But it doesn't mean I love them less. Actually more. When we get together I want to be fully present for them.

I don't have much more to write. Not now anyway. So we'll talk later, eh?
The blogger from Baghdad Burning just made out her Christmas wish list. Check it out, okay? If nothing else, it's a sobering reminder of what our government and media won't share with us. They would prefer we don't see the hardship, pain and devastation this war causes those who are not American.

And from her previous entry:
"People are wondering how America and gang (i.e. Iyad Allawi, etc.) are going to implement democracy in all of this chaos when they can't seem to get the gasoline flowing in a country that virtually swims in oil. There's a rumor that this gasoline crisis has been concocted on purpose in order to keep a minimum of cars on the streets. Others claim that this whole situation is a form of collective punishment because things are really out of control in so many areas in Baghdad- especially the suburbs. The third theory is that this being done purposely so that the Iraq government can amazingly bring the electricity, gasoline, kerosene and cooking gas back in January before the elections and make themselves look like heroes."

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Thanks to sunsmogseahorse for the heads up. I did a little research and came up with a couple links, including information from CATIE (Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Center) website.
B.C. alerts gay males to meningitis outbreak

Kissing strangers described as hazardous; three dead from saliva-spread bacterium
Monday, December 13, 2004 - Page A10

VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's gay community is being warned about the danger of kissing strangers after an outbreak of a serious bacterial infection that has killed three gay males in the last month.

Word that six cases of meningococcal C have been reported among gay men in British Columbia since early October, and that three men have died, has spread quickly in Vancouver's Davie Street district.

"This is a major concern right now," said Randy Newburg, general manager of the PumpJack pub, a popular hangout for gays in downtown Vancouver.

"It's Christmas, and around this time people tend to get pretty chummy."

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control said the outbreak is caused by a bacterium known as meningococcus, which can be carried in the nose or throat without causing sickness.

The bacteria are commonly spread through an exchange of saliva, or by sharing food, drinks or cigarettes. Infections can occur in men and women of all ages.

But a recent increase in the rate of infection among gays has prompted the launch of a program of emergency inoculations that will target homosexual males, including teenagers, in British Columbia.

Patricia Daly, a medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health, said homosexuals are particularly vulnerable due to the way they tend to socialize.

"Within the gay community, kissing strangers is one of the things we want them to avoid doing at least until they have had the vaccine."

Gays are also being warned about the risks of sharing marijuana joints, cigarettes, drinks and musical instruments.

"We have seen cases of this being spread through sports teams with water bottles, or anything where there is an opportunity to share saliva with strangers," she said.

High fever, headache and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningococcal infection, which can develop suddenly, and in some cases cause brain damage or death.

Mr. Newburg said he is concerned that there appears to have been no correlation between the three men who died. "They don't appear to have slept together or have done anything together," he said.

All three are from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, according to Dr. Daly, who said she is not aware of any recent cases in other parts of Canada.

Homosexuals who may be at higher risk include those who live in or travel to the Lower Mainland or southern Vancouver Island, who have more than one sexual partner, or who are socially among the 45,000 to 60,000 gays in British Columbia.

"Eventually everyone in the province will be immunized, but it will take several years to get everyone fully protected," Dr. Daly said.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Addendum to last night's post -

The experience at the Mountain was profound. One massive insight came out of this. Possibility. Possibility that if I tasted it once, I can taste it again. Just because it's the first group where I discovered we spoke the same language, it doesn't mean it's the last or the only. I am sure I can experience that type of connection with others as well.

See? All about possibility!
Okay, okay.

I know I should never blog when I'm a tad drunk. Although I am RARELY drunk, let alone a tad. But I'm blogging now. Beware.

You see, it's been a painful week. I am now celebrating the beginning of my vacation after having been quite productive this work and in therapy. Especially therapy. I jumped in. Gawd, I went to some hard places. So much so that when I left my last session, I noticed the shrink's bow was deeper than usual. For those of you out of the loop, that's buddhist speak for "good girl". He's only done it one other time before. I noticed it and called him on it the very next session. He concurred.

So here I sit...having finished a glass of red wine, a green salad with chicken. Yes, quite tasty. And now I'm enjoying a bowl of decaf latte with a shot of Sambuca. I asked the waiter if he'd make it for me. His eyes sparkled and he said "mmm...tasty". I can assure all of you right now - it is.

Tomorrow at noon, AE and I are going to hang out for a while. Want to know why I'm so homesick for the Mountain and the Mountain men? Hmmm....let's see if I can dig it up. Hold on now.... it is. You see, I wrote a little blurb earlier, but didn't know if I was going to post it. I've found it and copied it. Although I'm not sure how much of the original I'll post. This is called winging it....with a buzz on.

Anyway...the homesickness. The reason:

I felt something. I felt it in June, on my very first trip to this community, but didn't realize what I was feeling. After I returned from my October trip, I knew.

Sometimes we don't even know we are missing something until the very thing we didn't know we were longing for hits us in the face. Smack in the face, leaving bruises.

This community, these men...or the ones I really connected with, see me. They see me. Or they seemed to see me. I have never before in my life felt as accepted as I did there. For the first time in my life I didn't have to defend myself, or explain in a way that felt even the slightest bit defensive. They allowed me to be. They got me. In some weird fucking way...they got me. I wasn't a godammed question mark to them. Or at least they didn't let on.

We'd talk. I had opportunities to individually speak with a few of the guys at length. AE would be busy with something and it gave me the chance to connect with others.

We'd talk. They would ask me loads of questions, yet it was in an open the door kind of way. When I spoke of pain, their eyes would fill with tears. We'd talk. We'd listen. We'd hear each other. I enjoyed listening to each of them. I couldn't get enough of our conversations. A few of them asked my advice and I could tell that whether or not they used it, they actually considered it. Powerful stuff. Truly powerful stuff. For me, anyway.

It was the first time in my life I had such an experience. I felt loved and welcomed in a manner I'd never before experienced in my life. And that's saying a lot because I've enjoyed many loving and warm welcomes. I am so incredibly blessed with the leather family I have here in Seattle. Men who care about me, love me, and have even offered to clean up my puke if I ever had cancer and would need to go through chemo. Yeah, that's big love. I cherish and feel cherished.

And yet, I never even imagined I could experience what I did on the Mountain. Part of my heart actually broke when I left in October. But that's life, right?

Okay...I'm not even sure I'll post this. But it's time to leave the Cafe. You see, I've gotta pee...and therefore might as well pack things up. When I get home, I'll reread this. Then...if you are reading these very words, it means that after a little bit of time and some fresh air, I didn't think that what I wrote was excessively foolish and therefore posted it. How's that?


I'm home now...and have reread what I wrote. I'm not too mortified and so you can peek.

G'night all.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Guess who just left?

AE from the Mountain just popped into work with the intent of surprising me. He did.
I knew he had just arrived in Seattle for a couple weeks, but we hadn't hooked up yet, although we spoke on the phone yesterday during his layover in Chicago.

No one hugs the way the Mountain men do. Except for a certain Bear. :-)
AE's arms were amazing. We breathe together...deeply. I'm in tears now and yes, the homesickness I felt after I returned from NY has returned.
Tomorrow, he and I will spend more time together.
You know...I don't write about all of my hot play. Actually, I don't write about most of it. I don't know what possessed me the other night, except...I was in a mood. And actually, the encounter with the donor made me chuckle.

Sex, play and nakedness. It's a natural part of my life. I don't see it as overly kinky, strange or weird. And it's not about shock value either. It is like breathing. Now it doesn't mean that I experience it all the time. At times it's also hard to breathe. Like anything else, there are seasons (although I can bemoan plenty when I'm too tired, too busy or too drained for play). What I have discovered is that as long as I remain open and honest, play has sneaky way of surprising me. In addition to planned scenes that have been known to be incredibly intimate and hot, the impulsive, spontaneous ones...even with strange men or those I barely know, have had the tendency to be just as intimate, albeit in a different way. For me, it's about clarity and a lack of arrogance. If I'm overly tired, feeling withdrawn, people keep away. If I go in with attitude, they just look at me.

Our society has pulled away from our natural state – our nakedness. Physical and emotional nakedness. I believe it's our puritanical beginnings. Therefore the little we do see in this culture becomes titillating. Would or could it still be special if it became part of our everyday? Would it still be attractive? Would we still yearn?

I believe so. And it would be more honest.

Think of Chop Wood, Carry Water. Think of being present. Imagine. If we could immerse ourselves in each moment, we wouldn't be taking anything for granted.

I remember of when I lived on the seacoast. Each morning, while driving to work, I'd catch a strong whiff of the salt in the air. I'd breathe deeply and let that unique smell fill me. And for those six years, every day, each breath would feel like the very first. I recall that with the first hint of salt, I'd be surprised that I was still surprised...still noticed the air and hadn't taken it for granted.

Now I could do it with salt air. I can do it with sex. I can do it with art. The trick is to find a way to do it with other aspects of my life. How do I see each time as new? Allow myself to be excited with the everyday?
Form or Function?

Or...why can't we have form AND function?

Today Mark Morford compares the new bridge built in southern France with the new bridge to be built in the Bay area. Once again, a difference between those with vision and those without:

"And if you care at all about industrial design and the splendor of pure function and of humankind's aspirations toward anything resembling ideals of grace and simplicity and beauty, you take one look and you can only go, whoa.

And then you get to spin right around just in time to have your face slapped by Arnold Schwarzenegger, a giant slab of a B-grade actor and C-grade politician who is right this minute advocating throwing a giant slab across S.F. Bay and calling it the new Bay Bridge redesign, when anyone who looks at the artist rendering just sort of feels this nasty tightening in their colon and they go, oh Jesus, what the hell is wrong with us?"

Thursday, December 16, 2004

From The Village Voice -

A conversation with Larry Kramer about the current state of gay activism
You Can Never Not Fight Back!
by Alisa Solomon

In a blistering speech at Cooper Union on November 7, his first in over a decade, author and activist Larry Kramer told a packed crowd that "as of November 2, gay rights are officially dead."

The founder of Gay Men's Health Crisis and of ACT UP, Kramer, 69, is an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, bestselling novelist, and author of the plays The Normal Heart and The Destiny of Me and of a collection of essays, Reports From the Holocaust. He spoke with Alisa Solomon about the current state of the gay movement.


Alisa Solomon: Since the election, the national lesbian-gay-bi-trans groups have been regrouping and asking what went wrong. All 11 state ballot initiatives defining marriage as between a man and a woman passed—and some of them even deny civil-union protections for gay and lesbian couples. Last week, people in the country's biggest gay lobbying group, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), reportedly said they thought the movement needs to temper its demands and slow down. They even said they'd consider supporting Bush's plans to privatize Social Security if it would help advance LGBT rights. What do you make of the suggestion that we need to be more moderate?

Larry Kramer: It's a disaster! You can never not fight back. You can't give them an inch. So what if they're attacking us? You don't run back into the closet. I was appalled when I heard the idea dribbling out that we should pull back instead of carrying on or pressing even more. My favorite expression is: You do not get more with honey than with vinegar! What I'm hoping—and it looks like this may be developing—is that this may finally be, if not the downfall of the HRC, at least putting them in their place. I never saw an organization exist so long, raise so much money, and do so little. Their annual budget is $25 million! I think they get a lot of money from rich people in the heartland. I want to ask those people: What are you getting for it? This election is a real slap in the face to HRC and their complete ineptitude. And now they want to make deals!

Solomon: But isn't making deals what all lobbying groups do? Can we really expect this type of bureaucratic institution to do the kind of on-the-ground organizing it takes to defeat local ballot initiatives? In one of your essays years ago, you noted that the automobile industry had more lobbyists than the gay rights movement, and you called for our building a Washington-based lobby. Is this a case of needing to be careful what we wish for?

Kramer: There's lobbyists, and then there's lobbyists. A good lobbyist is not an ass kisser. HRC seems to be more and more devoted to ass kissing. That way lies disaster. We've got to teach them: You don't suck up. There's a great deal of feeling that all they do is pay to go to parties in Washington, to be on the circuit, to be seen, as if that amounts to much.

Solomon: I wonder if there might not be a problem built into the very structure of this kind of lobbying model. If your whole orbit is the offices and the parties of the Hill, and your work is to go bargain with them and be cozy with them in the same social circles, then you speak their language, share their perspectives-

Kramer: If that's what lobbyists across-the-board do, then we're in trouble. It seems to me lobbyists are there to represent the people, not sell out the people. "Bargain" is the wrong word. If you have power, you go in and say what you want. They listen to you or not. You go in and be angry. If they don't like it, tough. What are they going to do to you? They can't do anything worse than what they're already doing. But if you represent as many people as they say they do - 500,000 or 600,000 people - that's a lot of votes.

Solomon: Well, they do claim some achievements, don't they?

Kramer: HRC takes credit for keeping the marriage amendment from getting anywhere in Congress. Yet it is generally agreed that it would never have gotten anywhere anyway, with or without them. Still, I don't know why everyone is so intent on pouring cold water on the notion that it was gay marriage that lost the election, which I firmly believe. I have no doubt that if not the major, it was one of the major reasons that we got dumped on.

Solomon: Don't you think it's more complicated? The war, fear of terrorism...?

Kramer: I do and I don't. I think when it comes right down to it, there is a lot of hate out there that we refuse to face up to. It sometimes reflects itself in subtle ways. Talking to straight people about gay marriage, you can just hear the anger that comes into their voice. That's something deeper than just being against gay marriage.

Solomon: True. But where I don't completely agree is that the Right has been putting forth anti-gay ballot initiatives of one kind or another for a couple of decades now. They can whip up anger and motivate people around homophobia no matter what we do or don't do, no matter what we demand or don't demand.

Kramer: Yes. I should have said not just marriage, but gay issues generally. They're surfacing under gay marriage now. We are now much more visible in many ways, and they're thinking we've got to be put back in our place.

Solomon: The marriage issue stirs people - both those among us who long for it, and among those who hate us and rail against it - not so much because of the benefits--

Kramer: That's why I want it. There are over 1,000 economic benefits the government passes out to married couples. I want 'em.

Solomon: - but more around the symbolic power of the state recognizing our relationships.

Kramer: I'm hoping that the symbolic stuff is beginning to fade. I think it's sentimental. I have nothing against that, but I don't think we should hold out for sentiment if we can get cold hard cash. I think we were on our way to getting the more easily obtainable civil union when the Massachusetts thing passed and marriage took its course. Then we had no choice but to fight for it, when a lot of us would have been happy to have the civil union. So when at the last minute Bush seemed to offer civil union, we weren't in a negotiating position to say, OK, we'll take that instead.

Solomon: With that possibility on the back burner, what do you make of HRC's willingness to consider supporting Bush's plans to privatize Social Security?

Kramer: Can you believe it? I can't see why people think Social Security needs to be repaired. Read Paul Krugman! Social Security is not broke. Why are they trying to fix it? It seems to be another Bush con to line the pockets of the rich.

Solomon: Yes. But isn't that exactly the problem? If HRC has a board of directors and an agenda that is being driven by people who give them a lot of money - which is to say the rich - why are we surprised when they support plans that line the pockets of the rich?

Kramer: I guess I'm naive enough to find it difficult to believe that this would be done at the expense of the rest of the gay population to such a degree. That's rabid right-wing philosophy.

Solomon: Indeed! I'd like to pursue that because, arguably, a certain kind of identity politics separates what's construed as "our interests" from a larger understanding of social and economic justice.

Kramer: What do you mean by "identity politics"? Fighting just for gay things?

Solomon: Yes. In your speech at Cooper Union, for example, you quoted some grim statistics from a talk by Bill Moyers about poverty in the U.S. and the ever widening income gap. I can imagine that HRC might say in response, "What's that got to do with us? That's not a gay issue."

Kramer: The people behind these policies are the same people who are crucifying us! If they're capable of that, they're certainly capable of destroying us, which they're attempting to do! Why do people like HRC separate it? HRC exists without any community oversight. They're not elected. We have no input into what they do. And they go and convince Congress that they represent the gay world.

Solomon: Why do we let them?

Kramer: Because, quite frankly, it's better than nothing. And nothing was what we had for so long. It's what every single speech I've ever made comes down to: Where are we? Where is everybody? Everyone is invisible. Even though so many of us are out of the closet, we're still invisible. Don't people know how to speak up?

Solomon: The whole culture has gone this way, hasn't it?

Kramer: The whole culture isn't being led to the gas chambers! And I use that analogy with full knowledge of what I'm saying. I really think they are out to completely eliminate us and to destroy us. It's becoming clearer and clearer. I finally got scientists and bureaucrats at the NIH to admit their intentionality in not doing anything about AIDS. Between 1981 and 1985, nothing was done. Every gay man who had sex without a condom got exposed. They knew it. That's hate. That's people who want to get rid of us. And we refuse to see that.

Solomon: People point to a lot of progress at the same time, to many gains on the AIDS front, for gay rights - they think you're crazy.

Kramer: I know. I'm always called crazy. And now it's "Larry's conspiracy theory."

Solomon: So what should we be doing about it?

Kramer: I really am tired of that question. Everybody's got to do what they can do. The amazing thing about ACT UP and GMHC is that they made themselves. People showed up and said, "I can do this, I'm gonna do that." GMHC came along when everything was really desperate. Lawyers said, "Let me help legally." Doctors said, "We're being screwed on the epidemiology. Let me investigate that." How we got drugs is an amazing story. A straight woman showed up at a meeting who nobody had ever seen before - Iris Long - who is a scientist, and she said, "You people don't know squat about any of this. You don't know how the government works, you don't know how science is done, you don't understand how it's researched, you don't know how to get grants, you don't know how drugs get approved, you don't know the chemistry of all of these drugs." And she started a group with three or four people, the Treatment and Data Committee. They all taught themselves everything. They became smarter than the scientists.

It was the same thing with ACT UP. It wasn't me making up all those demonstrations that were so effective. It was very imaginative people who sat around in a room with a couple hundred other people and brainstormed. I didn't know what we were going to do when I said we've got to do something. You can't know in advance. You have to get together and talk. You have to find out: What do you want to do? What are you capable of? What do you dream of doing? It's all about dreams. We have to stop making it sound so clinical.

Solomon: I wonder if that is harder for the current generation than it was for yours or mine. I mean, we're talking about people born after Reagan. They didn't grow up with an idea that the state has obligations to its citizens, that they could be part of a meaningful collective effort rather than just strive as individuals, that some kind of safety net isn't a Communist plot --

Kramer: It's true. But I grew up nonpolitical. I was out on Fire Island laughing at the Gay Pride marches on TV. What politicized me was a couple of friends dying real fast.

Solomon: Yes. But also you were politicized into an atmosphere that still had some live radical spores.

Kramer: I agree. Those ideas are out of currency. But it's no excuse. You can list all kinds of reasons for why it's not easy, but you gotta wake up and smell the coffee. They're coming after us. Big time. Even if they're doing it under the guise of Mr. and Mrs. Nice Guy with God on Their Side. And a lot of people don't want to see it. Andrew Sullivan just wrote an article saying everything is going to be wonderful. Makes you want to puke!

Solomon: Why do you suppose he sees what you consider so dire in a more optimistic way?

Kramer: One thing I learned in GMHC and ACT UP is that after a while it's pointless to ask the question "why?" There are a million whys. You just gotta take each day and react to the pile of shit they dish you out that day. You go after it. You cope with today's emergency. That's why you can't be too much of a bureaucracy. You've got to be able to be loose and deal with the issues on a daily basis.

Solomon: But even as you're doing that, don't you also need a long-range vision -- those dreams you were talking about before?

Kramer: Honey, to be free and have equal rights. You don't need any more long-range vision than that.

Solomon: That sounds good. But what about the difference between equality and justice?

Kramer: They should be the same thing.

Solomon: But are they? Take health care. One of the great contributions of ACT UP was articulating demands for universal health coverage. But as the gay movement has focused in on marriage equality, all we seem to say about health care now is that we want to be able to access our partners' health benefits—assuming we have a partner—and that she or he has a job that provides decent benefits, which is less and less the case as unions get busted and corporations get stingier and stingier.

Kramer: I agree. It's not doing us any good to make this a one-issue fight about gay marriage. That's what the Right is forcing us to do.

Solomon: It seems to me the gay movement would have a lot more allies if we were working for genuine universal health care. Is there a family in this country that isn't affected by the disaster of our system, that hasn't been gouged by health costs? I sometimes wonder why people all over America aren't rioting in the streets over this issue.

Kramer: There's my favorite line, I use over and over, from a Brazilian reporter who saw one of our more feeble ACT UP demonstrations outside City Hall, and she said, "You call that a demonstration? In my country, when they raise the bus fare we burn the buses!" I have no idea why there hasn't been more civil disobedience, guerrilla tactics. The Right uses guerrilla tactics all over the place in the guise of think tanks. What I'm slowly beginning to sniff and to encourage is that some of the richer gays with their foundations are beginning to talk among themselves about what they can do with their money. They're generous, but they're safe-generous, and it's time not to play everything so safe.

Solomon: Even as you look for more civil disobedience and local organizing, do you really think we have to rely on the millionaires?

Kramer: Right now, yes. It shouldn't be either-or. But there isn't any issue out there of major import that accretes less money to itself than we do -- and this is a rich population. People get mad when I say that because of course there are a lot of us who aren't. But for those who are -- we are letting them off the hook. It's shocking.

Solomon: Maybe you're thinking of some well-funded think tanks like those the Olin and Bradley foundations supported on the Right for so many years as they built their power. But that's so much easier on the Right -- there's no contradiction between their ideology and their pocketbooks. Look at neoliberal policy around marriage, for instance, and its social engineering. From this perspective, we'd make the best common cause with women on welfare, who are being told they have to get married in order to qualify for assistance. Or one could make a similar point about immigration -- that to win rights to bring noncitizen partners here, we should understand that issue within the full picture of assaults on immigrants more generally. But rich gays aren't likely to ally themselves with women on welfare or undocumented workers -- some of whom, in both categories, of course, are also LGBT.

Kramer: I don't know how to say this without sounding like a shit: It's about money, pure and simple. That's the reality of it all. We're not going to change the world by asking everybody to think of poor people. It's never worked that way, even though that's the way it should work. And it's quite right to say all of these things because they are, indeed, true. But when it comes right down to it, it's about power, and power is money. Money buys you the power, and power gets you the rights. The hope is that will include poor people. You've got to keep your eye on the prize.

Solomon: Which is?

Kramer: Which is becoming powerful. Coalition is the best idea in the world -- and I've never seen it work, except maybe around the Vietnam War. It certainly didn't work with AIDS, and it's not going to work with gay marriage.

Solomon: But even without necessarily saying we have to work in coalition, couldn't we at least strive for a broader, more contextual way of thinking? Couldn't we encompass it in our vision, even if not in our meetings?

Kramer: Of course, you can do whatever you want. But I saw in ACT UP how we ended up with so many issues to attend to. It's not that you're denying the existence and relevance and importance of other issues, but you can't water down your power by having everybody fighting for their own separate interests.

Solomon: So what do we do now?

Kramer: [Long pause. Big sigh.] I don't want to start another organization as long as I live. But I say to people, you have to plug in. Somehow. In an essay I wrote in 1982 or '83 that's in Reports From the Holocaust, I talked about getting mobilized: It's really a group of people getting together and discussing an issue and then going out and doing something about it.

ACT UP changed the world: The drugs are now out there because kids, most of whom are now dead, went out and put their bodies on the line and changed history. Why can't we continue to do it?

Solomon: If you were handed the directorship of HRC or some other major gay organization, what's the first thing you'd do?

Kramer: Fire everybody.

Solomon: And then?

Kramer: Call some friends and sit down and talk. I come from the movie business. You start by pitching ideas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Greasy poles

A rare moment for me. I'm sharing my horoscope with you. My birthday is coming up on the 6th of January. I'll be a whopping 45 years old. Fascinating, on so many levels.

Anyway, back to the 'scope. Rob Brezsny says I need a greasy pole.

""I have climbed to the top of a greasy pole." So proclaimed nineteenth-century politician Benjamin Disraeli when he had at last ascended to the job of prime minister of Great Britain. Please picture that greasy pole in your mind's eye, Capricorn. I would love to give it to you as a holiday gift. It would be an apt symbol for the work you have ahead of you in 2005. P.S.: I expect to see you at the top by next October."

Yeah, sex resolves all.

Speaking of which, I haven't told you about my escapades at the Eagle last Sunday. It was the final fundraiser evolved into celebration party for the sex scholarship (as I like to call it). The day was fucking cold. It was the smallest turnout ever. Understandably so. I mean, it's only a few weeks before Christmas. You know...that holiday that most people celebrate in a daze of "I have to's". My rant on Christmas was last year. You can read it here.

Anyway, not only the upcoming holiday, but as I was fucking frigid. Sir gifted me with the bowtie from his tuxedo. He tied it around my neck. Dogs on the grill. We are rubbing our hands to keep warm. The few patrons are inside where it's warm. Smart men.

Before leaving, I wanted to warm up, having spent about 3 hours outside on the deck. I walked inside and up the stairs to the second floor. There were two men leaning against the wall, having just watched a movie of greco-roman wrestling that was shown on the large wall. I walked up to them and said hi. One went to grab my nipples. "The left one is off limits" I responded (due to the pain I still felt). So he began to work my right nipple. I grabbed his package. The man to the left of him began kissing me. What the hell. I had an extra hand. I grabbed his crotch as well. Momentum building, I was taking turns deep kissing each, shoving our tongues together. I scrambled to open the button fly's of the man on the left and released his cock. I craved his dick in my hands. All the meanwhile I still have my right hand on the other man's bulge. With a fleshy pole in my left hand, the owner of that dick unzipped my jeans and dug his hand inside. The man on the right was still grabbing my nipple while I took turns kissing each.

It was fucking hot and my jacket slipped off my shoulders onto the floor. I began to cum, and both men were lusciously hard. Next thing I knew, a third man walked up behind me and started slapping my ass. I was done. I came and came. I wanted to feel the dick of the man on the right but I was overwhelmed and felt close to short circuiting, so I didn't undo his fly. But I ferociously grabbed him, while I stroked the flesh of the other. All the while my ass was getting beat.

Yeah...I came. And came.

Afterwards I turned around and noticed the man beating my ass was one of the volunteers for the scholarship. He was getting ready to leave and saw the three of us. So he jumped in. After he left I was again focused on the other two. I then turned my head to the left, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed two men leaning against the wall...watching.

I looked at my play partners. "Ummm...excuse me but I have to go talk with my donors over there."

A tad embarrassed I walked over...sweating and flushed. The tall one looked at me and smiled. "Hot scene" he said.
At that point I felt a cool breeze against my crotch and remembered my jeans were undone. Without missing a bit I rezipped them and said "it's all about spontaneity."

It is all about spontaneity. And it's moment like that that remind me it is all about energy. Fuck what the world says regarding who should play with who.
Would you miss these if I didn't post them?

Once again, Rob Brezsny's Freewill Astrology and Mark Morford's column for today Canada Goes To Hell.

One of the little challenges I enjoy (yeah, call me a cheap date) is trying to find a snippet from Morford to post here. Today is no exception. For those of you who took art history, remember the compare and contrast slide exams and research papers? Well Morford's doing a compare and contrast between Canada and the U.S.

Today's tasty treat a la Morford:
"We hate gays and love guns and think pot is evil but hand out Prozac and Zoloft like Chiclets. Meanwhile (as "Bowling for Columbine" so beautifully illuminated), Canadians leave their doors unlocked and don't feature violence and death on every newscast and still value community and diversity and discussion over solipsism and protectionism and a general hatred of foreigners and the French. See? We rule! Oh wait.

All of which makes you wonder: how many more countries will it take? How many more nations will have to, for example, prove that gun licensing works, or that gay-marriage legislation is a moral imperative, or that health care for all is mandatory for a nation's well being, before America finally looks at itself and says, whoa, damn, we are so silly and small and wrong? Is there any number large enough? After the announcement that gay Chinese and gay Russians may legally marry and grow lovely gardens of marijuana as they all get free dental care, will America remain terrified of nipples and queers?"

Hey there.

This will be short, considering I've been at work since 7 am, and just returned home after our monthly board meeting. Although lately, it's not only long days that create exhaustion. It seems that even being the least bit social is fully zapping my strength. I don't like it one bit. It worries me. But I hope that this too shall pass.

Don't get me wrong. I cherish the parties, the friends and the time I spend with those I love. Lately, these times have been even more enriching. Fuller somehow. God, they are great. But all I want to do the day after a few hours with friends is be alone and not talk to anyone. It takes too much work to even exercise my vocal cords. Sometimes on my alone days, the only contact I have with people is 3 minutes with the barista.

I find myself leaning more and more toward being a recluse. I pray it's only a seasonal thing, and I'm not speaking of our dark days. In the past, I found short dark days invigorating. It was all about the change of seasons. Each season change would energize me because of the newness it brought.

Instead...I's other stuff. I want to write about it but frankly, I'm too tired. In the last two weeks, I've swapped my normal Fridays off for Mondays. My weekends have been filled with people and Monday mornings I wake and have no oomph to move let alone work. Next week, I'm off all week for the holiday. And the week after will be a short week because of the other holiday and I still have over 9 hours of vacation time left to take before the end of the year. Maybe the break will help.

Well, seeing that I am writing, maybe I can let you know a little bit. I think I've written that my October time off at the Mountain and Body Electric emotionally opened up a Pandora's box. It was very unexpected, and even surprising to others who've experienced BE. It wasn't a negative experience, but quite the opposite. I feel blessed for it. BE touched old forgotten hurts. I've written about it privately and therefore not even sure how much I've written here. But I was so torn opened that when I returned to my shrink, I essentially shut down inside. I felt ripped up and retreated to catch my breath. Because I am still closed off, it seems my body is now rebelling. I once wrote about this point of therapy gathering a momentum all its own. I've tried slowing it down but it's no longer a healthy move.

On top of all this, I mourn the loss of my painting. I've spent the last few days looking at jpegs of old paintings I no longer own, having sold them years ago. I see the artist I was and feel as if I'll never be one again. Yes, I still see the world as a painter and a colorist. It's all about composition, shape, light and color. But I'm paralyzed.

I placed the jpeg of one of my favorite paintings, now in the possession of a gallery director somewhere in New England, as the background of my desktop. I stare at it and cry. I can't believe I'm the one who created this particular piece.

All this, the decline of my health, my exhaustion and the paralysis surrounding my art, means it is time.

It is time to really grab my gutts again, chomp down and go through it, whatever it is. I need to get back into couch work with my shrink. The idea of pursuing this is terrifying. Last week, the shrink noted that it's not like me to drag my feet on something - even when it's hard. Yet that's what I've been doing for the last month and a half.

Sometimes the unknown is truly a scary place, isn't it? Although I wonder if the nightmare is in my imagination and worse than reality.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

From the December 8th entry for About Pip:

on the bus home…

…tonight i noticed something in the reflection in the window. an older man, mack and briefcase, had taken a glove off and was running his fingers along the ridge of fabric between the headrest and seat back found on older buses. i took my glove off and did the same thing, i got that feeling, the tingle, mounting pressure, between my shoulderblades that you get when it feels as though someone is watching you. i arched my back to release it and put my hand back in my glove. humanity is fucked as long as we have no concrete way to describe shared experience. it has nothing to do with empathy and everything to do with being in another person’s skin, their muscles and bone, the fluids. in your meat. when what i feel is that which you feel and not my interpretation of, my imagining of, what you experience, what you know, then there’s hope. otherwise…this and this.

Please check out his 'this' and 'this' links. "Dig a hole and dump them in". Although it's a quote from the second link, it sadly enough can apply to the first as well.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

What would you do with 40 million dollars?

That was Lydia's question of the week, spurred by a NYTimes blurb. Per Lydia:

This is the caption presently on the front page of the New York Times web edition: 
Price of Inauguration Access. Workers are building the stand where President Bush will watch the inaugural parade. Mr. Bush's inaugural committee is seeking to raise more than $40 million, a record.

40 million, eh?

First things first. 1 million to my parents so they can enjoy their retirement. 1 million to each of my 7 nephews and 1 niece, placed in a trust for their education. I million to each of my sibs...with the stipulation that they need to think about donating 10 percent to some gay rights group. I won't tell them which. Instead, I expect them to do research. may help change hearts and minds. Not that they are blatantly anti-gay. I know they love me. But they all prefer the silent method. No one talks about it. My nephews and niece range from 21 down to 3 and they haven't been told that I'm queer. Yeah...I take issue with that.

Then I need to pay off my student loan, car and other bills. 30,000 should do it. Close friends would find nice fat checks under their pillows. :-)

I'd purchase two homes at the ocean. One on the left coast and the other on the New England coast. These would be open to friends and family. And yes, each location would have a dungeon and studio/work area. :-)

I'd set up a fund for myself so I can quit my job, paint and work on my new foundation - Foundation for Freaks.

The Foundation for Freaks would have a 5-10 million dollar endowment. The grants would be geared toward the arts and sex. This isn't about funding sexual projects that replicate what's seen in the mainstream vanilla and bdsm communities. But it would fund projects, research and education for freethinkers. It would award and acknowledge those that aren't afraid to buck the system, even within subcultures. It would recognize and give space to independent voices. Especially those who tend to get lost in the masses. Their voices and work may be more private and quiet. It's easy for them to disappear in the fray. Yet they have something big to say. Critical to humanity. Those who know that art, sex and spirituality are one and the same and have a unique way of manifesting that idea. They know the importance of living in the world in a different way than we currently do. Those are the people I want to recognize.

I could see purchasing a piece of land that would offer workspace for these recipients. Then the grantees would have a place to retreat and create.

It's nice to dream, isn't it?

Saturday, December 11, 2004 I can talk about it.

You see, Hoss' boy and I were in cahoots. Hoss had seen a painting in my apartment and apparently had fallen for it. I didn't have a clue until his boy emailed me about 3 weeks ago, asking if the painting was for sale. He wanted to get it for a gift. I was moved.

You see, the paintings closest to me need to go to good homes. So much for buddhist detachment, eh? Some of my paintings are somehow hardwired to my sinew and marrow. I'd hate to see them go to a place where I don't get good energy from the owners. I don't want to sell someone a piece simply because it's going to match their fucking couch or dungeon. They can buy a damned print from the mall if that's their intent. We are talking about art. It's got to speak to you!

Arrogant on my part? Sure. And I know it's something I need to work on. But damn it. My painting is me. When someone owns a painting, they have a part of my soul. So why can't I be particular? Maybe someday I'll change my viewpoint, maybe I won't.

Anyway, back to Hoss' painting. I love this painting. It's a part of my heart. When I moved to Seattle I left most of my work back east. This painting was one of 5 oils that made the trip. Size was a factor. There was only so much I could cram into my little Escort. I intentionally chose the painting because it was of my home - Portsmouth NH. I spent a few days on top of the parking garage in the center of town, with my easel, looking down onto the street and painting. For long time readers....remember this entry? I wrote about the trials and tribulations of being an artist painting outdoor. The joy (hear the sarcasm) of being seen, not as a person, but public property, because I chose to paint outside of my studio. One of the final paintings I made outdoors was this little landscape. The roof of the parking garage offered me a blessed sanctuary, away from rude, overbearing people with no sense of grace, decorum, manners or boundaries. No fucking idea of personal space.

The other painting I brought with me was an outdoor landscape as well. I was sitting alone at Wagon Hill Farm in Dover Point, NH, looking down over the fields to the Great Bay. The other two are still lifes, and the fifth is a painting my mother did, of the New England coast. mom did it! And it's a beautiful piece.

Oh yeah...back to the painting. See how I go off on tangents? You ought to sit in my shrink sessions. Sometimes I wonder how he can keep up. But he does. The painting. I am so incredibly thrilled that it's gone to the place it has. It's passed on. It's in a good home. And granted, from there it can fly where it needs to. But the first step out of my protective arms was filled with love.

That's the story of the painting. So to speak.
It's been a busy day. So I'm a tad late with Morford's column. Today he writes about the death of rock and roll. Rock and roll, coming from a place of rebelliousness, is now used to further corporate consumerism. It doesn't really fit, yanno?

Check out Aerosmith Sells You A Buick.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Whazza up you ask?

Well I'm finally able to sleep through the night. No, I hadn't told you about that.

When I moved to my new pad in August, I knew I was moving to the 'hood, as the neighbors call it. Although the junkies and hookers would hang out on my was always during the day. They were cool. We'd say hi. I'd stop and talk with them. But it was a quiet neighborhood at night.

In the last week of October, a new grocery store opened down the block. I live on the opposite corner. Since the opening, dealers have congregated on my corner. Literally. At night. Every couple hours. Cars would tear up and down the intersection at all hours. I live in the top floor corner unit. Our windows are large, old windows. I could hear the conversations of two people just talking on the corner, such as, "Yeah man, I'll let you smoke it before you buy it."

So I was getting awakened at midnight, at 2 am, at 4...again at 5:30. I would call the police every night. Sometimes two or three times a night.

I had 5 very sleepless weeks. I became anxious about going to sleep because I knew I'd be startled awake. I was angry. I felt terrorized.
These guys had lookouts. You see, I'd call the police, and as the cruiser would turn down the other street, I'd hear someone warn the others. So of course they'd dissipate which meant the cops wouldn't see anything.

I hated calling 911. Every night it was the same fucking conversation.
It went something like this:

me: I'd like to report noise on my corner. It just woke me up.
operator: Is there arguing going on?
me: most of the time no. But they are congregating outside my window.
operator: how many are there?
me: I can't tell. They are positioned in such a way that I can't see them – up against the building. But it sounds like 5 or 6 guys.
operator: what race?
me: I can't see them so I don't know.
operator: what do they look like.
me: I said I can't see them.
operator: where is the location?
me: the corner of 20th Ave and East Denny Way
operator: 20th Ave East or 20th Ave plain?
me: ummm...I don't believe you can have an eastbound street intersect an eastbound street.
operator: ma'am, 20th Ave East or 20th Ave plain?
me: (sigh) 20th Ave plain.
operator: we'll send someone over. would you like an officer to come speak with you?
me: I just want to get back to sleep.

The next night:

operator: 911
me: they are back.
operator: who are they?
(it begins again)

Thanksgiving weekend was the worse. I barely slept at all. I'd be in tears while on the phone with 911 because I was so frazzled.

Every time I was awakened, I'd think twice about whether or not to call. If I didn't call, I could return to sleep quicker. But, at the same time, if 911 isn't called, the police have to assume that everything is fine. And it wasn't. I didn't want them to think the problem had resolved itself.
Whenever I did speak with someone, although there wasn't immediate results, they strongly encouraged me to continue calling. I guess it's a matter of having it for the record.

I had mentioned to a few of the dispatchers that I felt undercover cops and unmarked cars would be the best bet for my area.
Finally I managed to speak with a cop instead of dispatch. He was willing to really listen to me.
He agreed that it was time for narcotics to get involved and gave me the number to contact them and file a report. I did.

The traffic slowed and then stopped as of a week ago. I'm sure they just moved to a different location, disturbing someone else.

You know, everyone does what they have to so they can get by. Drug trafficking is a much larger problem than simply arresting a group. A junkie once said "if I wasn't a junkie I'd be nothing at all."

We all need an identity. We all need a way to attempt to fill the hole we each carry inside.
I imagined a place, where junkies and dealers could sell, deal and trade in private. I mean, if we aren't going to really work on the root of the problem, why don't we create an environment where they can do it without harming or disturbing others? Let them smoke their crack and sell to each other. You can't take away something without replacing it with something else. Not if you want to be successful. It's so big that all we do is slap a fucking bandaid on it.

Any addiction is the same way. And by the way, I don't believe that addictions are all bad. If it's not hurting others or affecting you in a negative way, then keep on doing it. But if you need to can't just cut it out unless you have something equally as filling to take its place. Otherwise you set yourself up for failure.

Anyway, I honestly felt bad for the folks on the corner. Hanging out in the rain and cold for hours, waiting, isn't a ball of laughs. Hungry and high all the time doesn't sound like much of a life to me. But it's what they have. It feeds them in the only way they know. I want them to be able to live their lives. But I need to live mine as well. And that means a solid 8 hours sleep most nights.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

I loved this the first time I heard it, back in '97, and still love it today.
Why are we so afraid of change? And it doesn't seem to matter whether it's a personal change or I see flux in someone else.

Over the weekend I read an article which spoke of change. Change in artistic styles. Abstractionists who begin to work in realism and the reactions that follow.
From Ex-Abs, Deidre Stein Greben wrote:

In today’s anything-goes atmosphere, switching camps—from abstraction to representation or vice versa—is not considered exceptionally radical, or even brave, but it still gives us pause. “People felt betrayed, as if I did it to them,” says Jonathan Santlofer, who shifted in the early 1990s from making abstract constructions to painting portraits and other representational images.

Similarly, Alfred Leslie “got a tremendous amount of flack” some 40 years ago, when he stopped painting canvases covered with thick, broad strokes and splatters and began making large grisaille portraits. Says Leslie, “I still receive it today. Many people saw my realist work as a negation of my abstract work.”

“People have a hard time with artists making such a dramatic change—as if they have given something up, given something away,” explains Kathy Muehlemann, who, with her husband, Jim Muehlemann, cocurated “A Bend in the Road,” at the Maier Museum of Art in Lynchburg, Virginia, last fall. The exhibition featured painters who had all made the move from abstraction to representation.

People have a hard time with anyone making dramatic changes. A few days ago I read a blog post by a woman who is not as involved in kink as she used to be. From her writings, she appears happy, centered and calm. Yet apparently friends expressed concern over her newly discovered vanilla life. There is an arrogance, albeit unconscious many times, that one particular lifestyle is better than another. And I know from experience that in the s/m world, vanilla has the feel of slipping backwards. A while back, after I made a derogatory comment about vanilla sex, Sir remarked, "I bet you've never had really good homemade vanilla ice cream." I got it. And I've never forgotten it. Whatever we choose, if done honestly, is the best and truest. For the individual. In that particular moment. And yes, it will change. You can bet on it.

It doesn't seem to matter what we do or where we are. As soon as we buck from the norm, be it the culture we are involved in or habits, it seems to create a lot of discomfort in those viewing our life from the outside. The kicker is that within a so-called radical community, we are no more tolerant of change.
Why does it unglue us? I wonder if it's because when we see change in others, it reminds us that we too are susceptible.

Going back to art, I work more representationally. That is, when I work. I have noticed a leaning toward abstraction when I let myself go. Each time I've created a little study which isn't as realistic as I'm comfortable with I'm acutely aware of my own discomfort. I mean...what does it say about me? Where is my painting headed? I try to attach solidified conclusions to a moment in time instead of relaxing into a natural stride. This isn't any different than what I wrote last week regarding being present in this particular phase of my life.

Change. It's only change. Life is about change, isn't it?

From the film, Kinsey,
"If every single living thing is different from every other living thing," Kinsey exults, "then diversity becomes life's one irreducible fact."

If we really let that in, not just hear it, but really let it in, can't you feel a sense of liberation?

Also from the movie:
As for humans, "everyone is different," he proclaims. "The problem is that everyone wants to be the same. They're so eager to be part of the group that they're willing to betray their inner nature to get there."

Powerful, powerful stuff.
Want your weekly dose of Rob Brezsny?

How about Mark Morford who happens to be brilliant as usual? Especially today. So says I. That's because he writes of something I'm very passionate about. In With so many Americans popping prescription meds, who needs nature and sex and exercise?

"But here's the thing: it's still only a fraction. Only a small number of people whose doctors prescribe these meds like candy actually need them, and as for the rest there are these things called lifestyle change and dietary change and perspective change and even spiritual shift that can affect the overall health of your life like a goddamn miracle, like a thousand drugs combined, changes that millions simply refuse to undertake because, well, it's just too damn hard.

We don't want to know. We don't want to understand deeper, complex natural systems. We want pills, not awareness. We want magic bullets, not true magic."

I'm running on a theme lately. You'll see from my next entry. Change, change, change. Fear of change. Resistance to change. Breathe into change.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Harper: "In your experience of the world, how do people change?"

Mormon Mother: "Well it has something to do with God so it's not very nice. God splits the skin with a jagged thumbnail from throat to belly and plunges a huge filthy hand in, he grabs hold of your body tubes and they slip to evade his grasp but he squeezes hard, he insists, he pulls and pulls till all your innards are yanked out and the pain! We can't even talk about that. And then he stuffs them back, dirty, tangled, and torn, It's up to you to do the stitching."

Harper: "And then get up. And walk around."

Mormon Mother: "Just mangled guts pretending."

Harper: "That's how people change."

- Angels in America: Perestroika, by Tony Kushner

Sunday, December 05, 2004

I just got back from the Eagle...the final event for this weekend. After a shower, I'm curled up in my comfy chair, wrapped in a blanket, my laptop on my lap...and I feel myself crashing. I'm seriously tired.

Yesterday, I left the house about 11 am for the first event - a donor/volunteer appreciation thingy. I returned home about 5, only to leave the house again at 6:30 for the next event, an annual holiday party for another org. I didn't get back until after 11 pm. Today, I left the house at 3 for the last Eagle bash for the scholarship.

I'll go into work for a couple hours tomorrow - drop off some cash and check in with the staff, then I'm headed home. I'm spending the day in bed...doing nothing.

For this introvert, it was a very full weekend of schmoozing. I'm fucking bushed.

Tomorrow, I'll write more about how things went. Right now, my bed is calling my name.

Sweet dreams y'all.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Last night was one of those one things lead to another kind of nights. It ended by finding me at CC Seattle's...drink in my hand and enjoying the plethora of bears. I came home much too late, meaning it's taking me quite a while to get moving. I have to leave in about 45 minutes. We have our annual donor/volunteer appreciation event today. It's being held at the Seattle Rep. We found a generous sponsor who funded almost 200 seats for the matinee of Take Me Out. I've been looking forward to the play. It's received great reviews. I should be home by 5ish, only to go out again about 7pm. There's a holiday party for another organization in town. And I'm going to support a coworker who will be receiving an award at this event.'s the Eagle for our celebratory boots, bbq and buzzcuts for the scholarship fund. Again, switching hats between player and foundation staff.

It's a professional queer weekend.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Are you prepared?
Do you think about it?

On Wednesday I was so exhausted that I took the day off from work. I didn't want to think, analyze or feel much of anything. It was a chop wood, carry water kind of day. Do laundry and clean my house and play solitaire. The only other diversion I allowed myself was another showing of Kinsey. This was the outing with my coworkers. We hit the matinee. The whole audience was mostly comprised of our staff.

I've been very tired all week. It's due, in part, to a major crash after reaching the dollars needed to endow the scholarship. I hadn't realized how much emotional energy I threw into the project. There was also the sore nipple issue. Because my mom had a double radical masectomy a few years back, and her mom had the same about 30 years ago, I was scared. The pain was in the same breast that has my 4 year old benign lump. The doctor's visit allowed me to relax. Yeah, we don't know where the pain is coming from, but it's eased up. When the pain first appeared it felt like a singletail to the nipple kind of pain without the fun. Due to a clean mammogram 3 months ago and greatly lessening pain, I'll keep an eye on it. Give it a month and then return for testing if it doesn't improve further. Doc said she'd send me now for whatever tests I desired, but suggested waiting. I concurred.

Some of the things that went through my head in the 6 days between first noticing the pain and the doctor's visit:

What would happen to my long term bills, such as car payment and student loans?
Is my life insurance enough to cover that?

Are my wishes for disposal of my body updated and clear? When I was in training with Sir, he required that his students prepare themselves for their death. It was a brilliant lesson and exercise. First, it was one step in showing us how to live a responsible and mindful life. Secondly, just in case we had forgotten, it really smacks us upside the head with our mortality. So about 5 years ago I had signed papers to have my body donated to the University of WA medical school and then have the remains after their use cremated. I know it doesn't thrill my blood family, but it's not their life. In good conscious I cannot clutter the earth with another box. On top of that, I refuse to give the funeral industry any more money than I have to. It's a huge commercial scam that feeds on emotion. Truly perverse.

Even though I went through the steps at that time, things are no longer the same. My finances are more complicated now. People in my life have changed. How about my will? Does it need to be updated?
Power of attorney?
I need to find a new executor.

Other thoughts:
What if it's cancer?
What if I need to go through chemo? I live alone. How would I get by when I'm sick? I wasn't worried about sick time and disability pay because I'm all set there. I have over a hundred hours of accrued sick time, and our newly revised employee policy allows coworkers to donate excess sick time to other staff.

I am not afraid of dying. I don't think I ever have been. To me, it's another step in my life. What I do find worrisome is making sure I'm responsible so my death isn't a fiscal paperwork nightmare for others. I don't want to leave a frightful mess for anyone to clean up after me. Instructions need to be clear. Paperwork should be easily found. Someone needs copies of all this.

On top of it, what about my more subversive paintings, my books, my toys? My sex stuff? If left to my family, those would probably get burned or tossed. Is there someone else who has access to my home and would know what to do? Would they know enough to separate my belongings before my family got their hands on anything? Would they know where to find those items? This stuff makes me the most anxious. I don't care if my blood family sees anything, but I want to make sure it gets in the right hands, regardless of what that person does. If someone I trusted and respected made the decision to throw my sex stuff away...that would be okay with me. Their choice wouldn't be made out of ignorance or fear.

Morbid thinking? I don't think so.

Now I don't believe I have cancer growing in my almost non-existent breast. I'm okay. I'm sure of it. But it was a good time to remind me to think of the 'what ifs' and see if I can refresh the instructions.

How about you?