Saturday, July 31, 2004

It's late...for me. I just got home and I'm a tad buzzed. It feels good. My last couple months have been so busy I didn't dare indulge. But tonight was perfect. I am all moved in. As of this afternoon, I gave away all I needed to. As of tonight, I put in storage the 4 boxes and loads of frames that had to be there. My storage is in my apartment building...but I can't access it at will. That's okay with me because I stored stuff I gotta keep but don't need immediately. And it keeps it out of my living space. So, once I did that...all that was in my apartment is strictly stuff that needs to find a home, in my apartment. And, if I'm not making much sense...well...I warned you. I'm a tad buzzed. Okay, I'll fess up. More than a tad. But not obliterated.

My move was from a 3rd floor walkup to a 3rd floor walkup. Yup...I was bushed.

I kept hopin' to grab the manager to access my storage while I had the boys to help, but it didn't happen. Not until after the last boy left. Oh well. It's all perfect.

By 8pm tonight I looked around my apartment, and I knew I could actually make this work. So I wasn't only in the space of "'I'm here because the universe is saying this is right" but I KNEW that it was really and truly perfect. It felt like HOME. In an odd, twisted way it feels like HOME.

Then I called Sir. We met for food and many, many drinks at Cafe Septieme. I hadn't wanted to go to the cafe in the last 3 weeks because there was so much to do. Tonight was a celebration. Afterwards, we walked to Sir's digs and stopped at the video store on the way. I picked up a couple of dvd's for this weekend. You see, I'm looking forward to being alone for a couple days. Nesting. Serious nesting. And then a fundraiser at the Eagle on Sunday. I figured the dvd's would be a good treat in between unpacking boxes.

I still have loads I want to write about although right now, for the life of me, I can't remember what they are!

On that note...I think it's time to snooze. Sweet dreams.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Good morning! And it is. It's cloudy out which makes me very happy. Spending two days moving from a third floor walk up to another third floor walk up in hot sun with bright blue cloudless sky was draining.

Although yesterday was the lighter of the two moving days, it kicked my ass. I was trying hard not to fall asleep while at dinner at Madame K's. That's where I took the boys for dinner. Located in a former brothel, the restaurant keeps the theme. There's a bed above the bar...and lots of dark velvet curtains. The waitresses use names such as Trixie, Daisy and Coco. Our bill came with the inscription "you were pleasured by Daisy."

Amazing food. Kickass pizza, refreshing sangria and sinful dessert. I tend to infrequently frequent the restaurant...maybe about once every 9 months or so. Not sure why. It may have something to do with the location. Not in my stompin' grounds so it's out of my radar. But I love the place.

Anyway, today is a shopping day. I need to get a shelf for dry food goods, curtain rods, bathroom accessories and a small computer table so I can hook up my computer. So I am off. See you later!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I shouldn't take the time this morning. But right now this place feels like only constant. Granted, in the next few days I'll be unpacked and more settled.

This morning auxugen and I are headed to my old apartment. He's offered to clean my old place. I'll go through some leftover boxes. They weren't moved yesterday because I have a gut feeling that most of the contents are going to the dumpster or thrift store. These are boxes I haven't opened in 2 years. I probably don't really need anything in there. We will also move my computer.

Tomorrow morning we are going shopping. It's time to pick up an 8x10 carpet, a small jelly cabinet, little computer table on wheels and some curtains. I don't dare unpack my books until I'm sure about the placement of the bookcase.

What is surprising about the size of the space is how everything is dumped in, and I still have some room. But thoughtful placement and organization is critical. For example, there's only one full wall. 2 walls are mostly windows, and the other is closet. The blank wall needs to hold paintings. When I paint, I work on more than one at a time. I have to have place to hang wet canvases and so must decide where the bookcase will go to give me optimum wall space. There are a few nook and crannies to possibly tuck the bookcase. We'll see what happens. It's gonna be an adventure.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I'm almost all moved in!!! After a very long day, then margueritas, and fish and chips on the water...I popped into work to check email. You see, my computer is at the old place and I'm sleeping in the new place tonight. I plan on getting it tomorrow. Although there was still room in two vehicles, I was bushed. I hit the wall and nothing more would happen. Nothing except, before dinner, I had to make up my bed and put up the shower curtain. In about 20 minutes I'll be taking a long, cool, very soapy shower. After that I'll be in bed with the tv on. That's my night. No unpacking, no computer, no guilt...just me.
I just received notice that Mark Morford is taking some time off due to a hand injury. He should return in a few weeks. I'll leave you with his last column which I failed to post last Friday.

Mark writes about the cultural revolution in Worship My Radiant iPod.

The boys should be here in about 15 minutes and I'm ready to begin moving. Yeah!
How about a little Rob Brezsny for ya?

Tonight was spent in true ADD fashion. I do so well with one large project. For example, packing the books or the dishes. But when all the big stuff is done and I look around to see little tasks here and little details there, I freeze. It take much effort for me to make the leap into action and begin. The same thing happens at work. I can focus easily on a major query or massive gift processing. It's something I can sink my teeth into. When the list is filled with lots of small things, even though I know full well they each won't take long...I dive into some serious procrastination.

I knew I had to do something. I spent about a half hour walking from room to room, reorganizing my mental lists. Finally, I jumped in. Let's finish the stacked bowls on the counter. Not the whole kitchen, mind you, just those bowls. From there, I moved boxes around for easier moving. Taping. Labeling. While taking a pee break, I worked on the shelf in the bathroom. Then I made a beeline into the studio to sort some more. I happened to notice my poor plant which had fainted! It's time to repot. I've never repotted a plant before in my life! I had the fixins...potting soil and pots. Of course seeing I had my hands in dirt, I grabbed a second plant from the living room that needed more space. Next thing I know my kitchen counter is filled with dirt and plants. I hope they live.

It was 2 hours of hopping around. And it somehow was productive. I feel so much better. Oh yeah, there was a trip to the dumpster at some point.

Tomorrow morning will go easier. There's a few more things to do before the boys show up. I'll take them to get coffee and breakfast goodies before we begin loading the van. Then when we get to the apartment, one of my coworkers offered to help. He'll be at work and requested we come get him when we arrive. He'll assist with unloading and come back for another trip. What a guy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

While I was packing, my ears just caught this:

"It does not follow that the theology of a few should stall the health and well-being of the many."
-Ron Reagan Jr. 7/27/07 speech at the DNC, Boston
Today, being my last work day for this week, was busy. Focusing on the task at hand was tough. Instead, all I wanted to do was work on my 'moving to do' list. Now that I'm home, I can begin. That is, right after I show you something powerful.

The San Francisco Public Library experienced book vandalism. Someone would walk in, find the glbt books, shred them, and leave them. The librarians couldn't bear to throw out the damaged books because doing so would mean the vandal won. Instead, art was created from the books. This link links to the link of the slide show essay. :-)
Two years ago this Wednesday, with one phone call, my whole life changed. Maybe not physically, although there have been many outward manifestations, but internally. I was not the only one affected. There were others, hit harder and more brutally than I. Their story is not mine to tell.

Two years ago a door shut on part of my heart. I was in a space of extreme vulnerability. Having given myself over to another, for guidance and training, I was in the middle of rebuilding myself when the teaching ended. Imagine a child.

In the past, people have written me, regarding the blog, and mentioned I am brave. They've said my writing is honest and intimate, sometimes painfully so. Although it may appear brave, how brave can it be when I now discover a great fear of revelation?

Also, I know I've been shielding myself in a way I previously wasn't. These last few months find me in a different phase. I am not living the daily pain I once carried. In some ways it is now a memory. When I think about it, it still harbors hurt, but this hurt is no longer debilitating. I have begun to feel strength return and see myself through new eyes. A sureness has returned to my step.

Today I clearly saw my fear of vulnerability...of 'unfolding' as Sir used to say. Apparently, this last slam, 2 years ago, locked some of my heart. Today, in therapy, I began a whole new level of trust. I took a difficult step into a deeper intimacy by allowing a greater openness. It's not easy. I felt so threatened by my act of faith and lashed out. Meanness filled me up inside. It began to come out of my mouth and somehow I managed to silence the brunt of it. The words would bubble up and I stifled the worse. It's not like me to attack someone who's shown great caring. This was a powerful experience because it revealed how terrified I am of really trusting someone.

For a while now, the shrink has been quietly yet not so gently prodding me. I couldn't understand why. Why did I need to go deeper with him? I was feeling good. Yes life is full and challenging, but I felt I'd acquired the tools needed to deal with it. I wasn't getting lost in tailspins. I was learning to be objective about the return of demons. Why, just this morning a coworker commented on how I've changed. She saw I could now remain calm in the face of moments that would infuriate me in the past. She mentioned a patience that wasn't there before and asked me how she could access the same. An hour later I had a doctor's appointment. My doc has been with me ever since I began training. She's only seen the wreck I was. Today, she walked into the room, smiled, hugged me and exclaimed "you're different! What happened? You seem so centered." She asked me what shifted. I can feel it and others can see it. So I couldn't figure out why the shrink was pushing me.

Tonight it hit. Two years ago this Wednesday a piece of my heart turned to black. I need to learn to really open again and place myself in someone's hands. Trust. No matter how independent I feel, how strong and courageous, I can't go it alone. No man is an island, although we all feel it at times. It's about interconnectedness with others.

I have no idea where this new direction will take me. I'm scared. Part of me dreads walking into his office on Thursday. I can't imagine the second step being any easier than the first. I also can't imagine going backwards or running away. My feet are taking me forward.

Two years ago, this Wednesday, the music died. Or so I thought. But it was a song that ceased. Today a new melody is taking shape.

Monday, July 26, 2004

From The Real Show by Bill Moyers:
"First, a confession: I haven't seen Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. It's not that I haven't wanted to; it's just that I have not been able to tear myself away from the real show – the political theatre playing out in full sight right before our eyes. Who needs a movie when you have the news?"
Good morning!

It's quite early. A massive allergy attack woke me at 4 am and wouldn't allow me to return to sleep.  An early day it is.

My packing is in good shape. At this point I can't wait to begin moving. Wednesday! I brought my little espresso machine to work this morning. Another staff member periodically spoke of bringing in his unit. Considering I will not have room in my little kitchen, this works. Also, beginning next week I no longer have a commute and therefore won't be going past coffee shops.

I didn't need to donate my excess furniture to an organization. I called another boy last week after having heard he is getting an apartment all his own. He's spent the last 5 years house-sharing. This boy came by on Saturday and wants it all! We loaded up his vehicle and he'll return on Wednesday morning for the remainder. I was anxious because the extra stuff was one more set of phone calls and planning. Somehow, beginning last Friday night, it has been falling into place. Effortlessly.

I hope, I wish, I pray...that once I move...I'll have free time again. It feels as if the last couple years have been spent getting through each day and waiting. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting to move, knowing my last apartment was a temporary place. Remembering to breathe and walk through whatever internal pain came up, from Sir's illness, the premature ending of training...and intense therapy.

Mind you, I understand that life is always about stuff coming up. But doesn't it feel like there are stretches which are more challenging than others? I don't want to live with my eyes only the future, hoping to get through the day. It's all about being present, regardless of what this very second brings. Yet...I want to be able to relax. I'd like to go home and have nothing more to think about than setting up my painting corner and consider the next stroke to lay on the canvas. Or have the time and energy to think about play again. I miss it.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Now for a commercial break:

Today has been the big packing day. I just started in on my studio a little while ago by putting away tubes of paint, folding up the easel, and separated my paint stained rags from the unused ones. I grabbed my brushes so I could clean them. Most were still soft, but I noticed that I was careless with a couple. The bristles stiff and caked with paint.
It's been 2 months since I painted.

I don't use a fancy brush cleaner. Instead I've always cleaned them with bar soap. Ivory bar soap. In the past I've tried other brands, yet for me, Ivory always worked the best and quickest. Hardly any effort. Not their liquid soap, nor their dishwashing soap, but the cake. Because a few of the brushes were dried up, I thought it would take more time and care. Instead, the soap worked through the dried paint almost immediately. It didn't take me any longer to clean the dried brushes.

I've been using Ivory bar soap to clean my brushes for the last 10 years. My profs gave us that tip. Yet cleaning really dried brushes was a first. I'm even more sold on the soap than before!

Back to my regularly scheduled program of packing...packing...packing.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Last summer, if you were reading this blog, you'd hear me periodically whine about the lack of rain and the heat. This summer you've been spared. Until now. I have good reason to write about it. It is hot. It is brutally toasty. 95 degrees is NOT what Seattle is about. Yet that's what yesterday and today are about. The one saving grace is the lack of humidity. It is a dry heat. But it doesn't make it fun when you are trying to pack. For me, anything higher than 80 is too hot.

I spent yesterday driving BBC top around to do various errands. We took auxugen with us and did end up with a good day, although all wilted by the time it was over. I left about 9am and didn't get back until after 6pm. I worked on packing boxes about 11pm when the temps dropped to a cool mid-eighties. One third of my bookcase and my living room is packed.

Today wonderboy is coming by and we are bringing my tv to BBC top. On the way we'll stop by Sir's and bring his blue chair to BBC top also. Then it'll be much too warm to do anything. So he and I will grab The Bear and we'll spend the afternoon at the movies, De-Lovely. Late tonight I'll pack some more.

Tomorrow is supposed to be 10 degrees cooler than today. I'll work on more packing. I figure if I finish the bookcase and tackled my art studio I'll be in good shape.

Now if I had the means, my druthers for today is to be on the water. The last full day of my vacation, back east, saw me on Otis Reservoir in MA. My brother has property there which includes a dock. It's a very large body of water and a busy boating locale. I took out his kayak for a while. It was great, even with the choppiness created by the boats. A little while later we spent a couple hours on his motor boat. It's heaven. I love boating. His wife used to have a a little catamaran. We spoke of it longingly, because it would have been a fabulous day to take the cat out. And although I've been on sailboats, I've never experienced a cat.

Boating would be perfect.

Maybe one day I'll be painting enough to have enough to show. I'll make loads of money which in turn will allow me to purchase my boat. I still fantasize about dungeon parties on a large vessel. Or lazing around on hot days. Cocktails and conversation. Slow, lazy days.

But until then...back to work.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

I've been stressed about moving. It's a heightened anxiety because I felt I needed to deal with extra stuff around it. Get rid of furniture. Look at the logistics of the bed.. (get rid of old one and grab new one while in the midst of moving), and change mail server and hosting company. Ick.

While driving home tonight I realized I can just keep the bed for now and move it into my new place. Yeah, not ideal, but less complicated. Once I'm moved and settled, then I can do the bed swap. Also, for some reason, I felt that because I was changing phone numbers, I needed to deal with the web host and mail server at the same time. About an hour ago I decided not to. I don't need to do it now. It can wait about a month. So...that's put on hold as well. The less I have to do now the better.

Monday I'll contact a nonprofit and make an appt for them to pick up some extra furniture. The one thing I will miss is the little loveseat. Sir gave it to me. It's old but quite comfortable. I call it my boudoir couch. The fabric is worn, but still in good shape. And it's velour or velvetish. So incredibly comfortable. I did leave a message with a former student of Sir's, to see if he'd like it. I heard he was moving as well and thought he may need more furniture, considering he's been renting a room in a house for the last few years.

So much to do and yet now I feel better. I noticed I was frozen and couldn't even pack a box. Methinks it's because I made everything more complicated than it needed to be. Tonight I also called QWest regarding the phone. They gave me my new number. Tomorrow morning I'll call my dsl/isp company. It's progressing.

I feel lighter.

Wouldn't it be great to hire one person who would take care of all the details of a move? They will contact all your companies to change your address. They'll hire movers and packers. All you need to do is take a 2 week vacation and when you return, the cab drops you off at your new home. Nice and neat.

I wish.

Yesterday was a day for personal work kudos. The meeting I went to involved different glbt and allied organizations. It was in regards to lists and databases. I was informed that the accuracy rate of my database was extremely high. As they said "you have good data hygiene." I am now looking for a very large toothbruth to attach to the door of my office.


If one more person tells me I'm too anal, controlling or territorial about our database, I'll smack them. Then I'll remind them about yesterday's meeting. There's a reason I'm protective of the database. All it takes is one miskey in a zipcode or street number and we've lost the constituent indefinitely. When I find folks who have the qualities to make good database workers, I do grab them. I have no hesitation in handing over responsiblilities to a tenacious, detail oriented person who gets hard from data entry. Otherwise, keep your hands off.

The altar entry is still in my thoughts. It's almost ready to post. I had further conversations with my shrink about it. (Honestly, today it was used as a distraction ploy). It's not an eloquent piece. It's more due to the fact that I needed to be clear headed to get my thoughts down.
Maybe tonight.

Or maybe not. We'll see.
From the New York Times - July 22, 2004
Filed at 4:07 p.m. ET

House Votes on Federal Gay Marriage Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-led House voted Thursday
to prevent federal courts from ordering states to recognize
gay marriages sanctioned by other states.

The Marriage Protection Act was adopted by a 233-194 vote,
buoyed by backing from the Bush administration. Last week,
the Senate dealt gay marriage opponents a setback by
failing to advance a constitutional amendment to ban
same-sex unions.

Federal judges, unelected and given lifetime appointments,
"must not be allowed to rewrite marriage policy for the
states," Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., said.

Democrats said the bill was an election-year distraction,
calling it an unconstitutional attack on gays in America
and the federal judiciary. They said it would set a
precedent that Congress could use to shield any future
legislation from federal judicial review.

"They couldn't amend the Constitution last week so they're
trying to desecrate and circumvent the Constitution this
week," Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said.

The legislation faces long odds in the closely divided
Senate, but were it to become law, gays and lesbians
seeking to have their marriages recognized could seek help
only from state courts.

It would strip the Supreme Court and other federal courts
of their jurisdiction to rule on challenges to state bans
on gay marriages under a provision of the 1996 federal
Defense of Marriage Act. That law defines marriage as
between a man and a woman, and says states are not
compelled to recognize gay marriages that take place in
other states.

"Marriage is under attack," said Rep. James
Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., referring to the Massachusetts state
court decision allowing same-sex marriages. The legislation
is needed, Sensenbrenner said, to prevent Massachusetts law
from being applied nationwide.

A parade of Republican speakers lamented the unbridled
power of federal judges to thwart majority will, although
no federal court has yet ruled on the 1996 law.

Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., the bill's author, likened
the Supreme Court to the Soviet Politburo. "As few as five
people in black robes can look at a particular issue and
determine for the rest of us, insinuate for the rest of us
that they are speaking as the majority will. They are
not," Hostettler said.

Democrats complained the legislation was being pushed to
give a victory to gay marriage opponents before Congress
leaves town at the end of the week for both parties'
political conventions and a monthlong recess.

Republicans are "undermining our Constitution today to get
more votes in November," Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said.

The effect of the bill would be to single out gays and
lesbians, barring them from going into federal court to
seek to have their marriages recognized, several Democrats

"We face no less than a sign on the courthouse door: 'You
may not defend your constitutional rights in this court.
You may not see equal protection here," said Rep. Tammy
Baldwin, D-Wis., the House's lone declared lesbian.
"Today, the 'you' is gay and lesbian citizens. But who
would be next?"

Democrats said the bill's supporters were trying to change
the subject from GOP failures to pass a budget and other
major legislation.

Many speakers said they believe the legislation is
unconstitutional, but legal scholars said the
constitutional issue is unresolved.

While Republicans defended states' rights, Democrats said
the phrase recalled Southern opposition to desegregation,
which was propelled by a series of federal court rulings.

Some Republicans also cited their desire to avoid setting a
precedent that could used by a Congress controlled by
Democrats to satisfy their allies or by lawmakers who
wanted to shield future unconstitutional legislation from
federal court review.


The bill is H.R. 3313.


On the Net: Congress:
Good morning...or almost afternoon.

Here's a quickie I'd like to share with you. I learned about this particular project, Turn Out, headed and funded by the Gill Foundation, while at my meeting yesterday. Turn Out's mission is to inform people of inequities that we still face. Here is more info on their mission.

The Gill Foundation produced television spots, currently only running in Colorado, Michigan and Florida. They chose real people, who made the decision to come out at work, in states that aren't protected by antidiscrimination based on sexual orientation. Provocative stuff.

Check out the videos.

I'm back, after a long day of meetings and phone calls. All I have for you this evening is Mark Morford:

"So, then, let this be a warning: Get ready. Expect the unexpected. Watch the skies, scrutinize the headlines, dust off your stash of duct tape. Because Karl Rove and the BushCo war hawks and the corporate cronies who run the show aren't about to go down without a screaming, sickening, fiery fight."

His diatribe for today is on the upcoming elections.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I still have time before I head out, so here is another goodie, this time from About Pip, a european blogger:

"I don’t live in the States, I’m not American so why should I give a toss.
Because when all’s said and done the nation considered to be the most powerful (define that) on the planet is in the grip of a regime fully intent on making Margaret Atwood’s dystopic vision seem naive and tepid in comparison. That vision is also something said regime have a vested interest in proselytizing around the globe.
November will be an interesting month for the planet in many ways."
I'm headed to a supposedly all day meeting regarding our database. Depending on the afternoon's agenda at this meeting, I may or may not return to work. Before I take off, here is today's Freewill Astrology.

While walking to the coffee shop this morning, I passed an older man on the street. Maybe late 50's or early 60's. He was sweeping the sidewalk. He was a short man, glasses, nice smile.
"Good morning, how are you?" he asked.
I replied and asked him the same.
"I'm great. I still have a job."
Smiling, I responded "that's a good thing, especially in this economy. Enjoy your day"
"I sure will!"

Those are the little moments I cherish. Connections with strangers.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

My new landlord and I connected after work. I handed him my first month's rent, and he reciprocated with my keys and another warm "welcome home".
I'm freaking a little. Well, how can I not? The space is little. At the same time it is perfect. The owner told me about storage space in the basement. That will help.

Although I can't move in until the 28th, I have the keys. This weekend I will head over to the new place with a tape measure and really take stock. I'm laying out my apartment on paper, including where the walls, doors and windows are. A little anal? You bet.

Being a small space I want to be mindful and very smart about the move. I have 4 days to move. Plenty of time. I want to organize it in such a way that I'm not living in the midst of chaos even for a day. For example, on the first day I'll be moving my art studio, bookcase and books. In addition, my boots, leather rose and toys. Those are definites and my priorities. The second day will be the kitchen and the bathroom. By the end of each day I plan on being unpacked and set up. Little at a time. Now we all know about the best laid plans, but at least I have a clear direction.

After the studio, kitchen and bathroom, I'm not sure which of the 4 dressers I've managed to collect in the last year will come with me. I hope to bring two of them - the yellow one and the green one. I'm quite fond of the small, tall white one, but not sure if I can squeak it in. Or maybe keep the white one (for height contrast) and sacrifice the green one. That's where the diagram comes in. I refuse to move anything more than once. The furniture I don't take, I donate.

Today I noticed something new about my apartment. There is a full size window in the closet! This is the closet that is almost 4 feet deep, and maybe 8 feet wide. Yup...I may be able to throw my painting corner in there. You see, there isn't a door on the closet. It's wide open. I can make a large, folding screen or hang curtains. Maybe beads or something funky. We'll see.

Ya, it'll be interesting. How can I be so excited and scared at the same time?
Due to my workload these last few months in my day job and my personal life, my sex drive has hit the toilet. And I'm not talking piss play. I get cranky when my libido is shot. I mourn it.

What I've discovered in the last couple weeks is my drive isn't gone. I may not have the energy for it during the day, but it's alive and well in my dreams. I wake up in the middle of the night, lustily, fingers in my hole. My eyes open about 3 am, normally from dreaming about sex. All types of sex. I'll then rollover a few times and wank myself to sleep.

One night, while on vacation, I even dreamt I had a cock. A big, beautiful, purple, throbbing pole. The veins pulsating. My veins. It was hard and ready for action. I remember wrapping my hands around it and feeling my heart beating. I still think of that night. Fondly.

That's not how the dream began. I was walking in a hallway that opened up into a room. To my left I noticed a glory hole. There was a dick and it called my name. My mouth, my cunt and my ass took all they wanted. Oddly enough, in the middle of fucking I thought "girlfag you ain't having safe sex. Better get a condom". Then I spoke out loud, "but this is a damned dream and I refuse to use a condom in my dream." Yeah...weird.

I couldn't even tell you the position used to fuck my cunt. It doesn't make sense and doesn't matter. It's a dream, remember? It was good, messy wet sex.

When I had my fill, I walked away. As I walked I looked down and discovered a cock. My own cock. It was the first time and I hope not the last.
Sometimes I'm such a schmuck. When I receive something by email, I normally will do a little research. When I posted this entry, I didn't google or anything. Until tonight, that is. The name of the essay that was in my email was "The Current Darkness." That's incorrect. It is actually called "With Trembling Fingers". I've corrected my previous entry. And here is the link to the essay, found in The Progressive Populist.

Monday, July 19, 2004


Where do I begin? It's been a full and tumultuous weekend.

Saturday I was slated to work with Sir all day. Having begun at 9 am, I made it until 3 pm and then needed to go home. You see, I crashed. In a big way I emotionally crashed. I did give Sir a hand. But the work we were doing brought up all sorts of stuff. The last two years came to the forefront. And all that I hadn't allowed myself to feel in the last couple months because I was so busy hit hard. Anytime I discovered some alone time on Saturday found me sobbing. Sir felt it and saw it. After stating his love for me, he encouraged me to head home even though there was plenty of work left to do. I thanked him and left.

While driving home, I felt like such a failure. In the past, I've been able to tuck bad moods or sadness to the side so I could get the job done. This time it wasn't possible. I was spent. There weren't any reserves left. Sir was great about it and yet I felt I failed. I know better than this. I know that this time failure would have been an attempt to stick it out. But that's how it felt. The day brought up loads of stuff surrounding childhood loss. That's where I sat. And still sit.

I need to gear myself up for my own move. I have 10 days to pack, and then 4 days after that to move. Plenty of time and still, I don't know where the strength will come from. Yesterday I headed to the stores. I had a few needs and wanted to get an idea of what's out there as well as cost. Items: a small unit to store my computer and fit the monitor on top. I found one...very little, on casters, which will work perfectly.

I shopped for beds...something that's comfortable, yet will transform itself into a sofa. I think I found a nice frame. Simple, wood, almost a Japanese feel. It's a twin size. With a bolster and a few large cushions, it'll make a good couch. And I found one treat. There's this carpet. It's 5x7. Although I may pick up the 8x10 size. I'll wait until I move to decide. It's a deep, rich red...textured squares. It will assist with dividing my space between living space and painting studio. There is something luscious about the carpet. And finally, I think I found curtains. Quite productive. The distraction gave my heart a reprieve.

Just checking things out, pricing, and taking measurements helped ease my fears about the size of my new digs. I'm still excited. Last week I informed the staff at work that my place could be the Foundation's siesta space. Every once in a while someone wishes for a couch in a closed room to grab a little shut eye, especially during long days of meetings. Now...they can borrow the key, walk 4 doors down...and voila! :-) Catnaps.


Sir had loaned me a certain dvd, a German film, and I finally had a chance to watch it on Friday evening.

What an amazing, chilling movie (especially considering the times we live in). "The Einstein of Sex" is a 1999 film based on the life of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, 1868-1935. Dr. Hirschfeld, a world famous sexologist, was a Jewish gay socialist. In 1897, in Berlin, he founded the first political gay group in history. He also coined the word 'transvestite." I'd never heard about him before watching this movie.

After watching, I googled for the movie. Apparently the creator has a list of interesting sounding films to his credit. Check these out.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Can you believe it? I can't.

After 2 weeks away from work, as of last night, I am all caught up! It only took 4 days and the assistance of a gifted woman who helped me out during the last month. That's a first.

We worked our butts off, but managed to do it.

This morning doesn't carry the huge work load I've dealt with since the middle of April. Things should stay a little more manageable for a while. Good thing because my assistant's last day was yesterday. She's headed for a PhD program in Math.

This person has given me a hand for the last 3 years...a week in January and normally a couple weeks in the summer. It's been wonderful working with someone who's mind approaches the job in a similar fashion. Her questions, and her thought processes resemble mine, which made for easy training to the complexities of what my job has become.

Beginning next August, I have a 6 week sabbatical coming to me, in addition to 4 weeks vacation and 2 additional weeks paid. Think about it. I can take 12 weeks off paid in one shot! Working it out, I think I want to do the full 6 week sabbatical, and then take 3 weeks chunk later on...and then I'll still have 3 weeks to split up.

I have an idea for my sabbatical. I miss being in school. But I want to focus on painting. The Seattle Academy of Fine Art has an Atelier Program where I can work independently, under the mentorship of a professor, for a month. It would be wonderful to have a painting mentor again.

About 4 1/2 years ago, for my birthday, I treated myself to a week long workshop at the Academy. It was Expressive Figure Drawing for the advanced artist. Intense. 5 days of non-stop drawing from 8-5pm. It was a great scene, that began with a great scene. Monday night, as a birthday gift, Sir singletailed the shit out of my back. The workshop began early the very next morning, running from Tuesday until Saturday evening. We were doing loads of 3 minute and 6 minute drawings. My back. I felt them every step of the way. It was good. Very, very good. I remember by Wednesday evening, my back was scabbing over nicely and Sir had me come over so he could tend to it, and oil it. It was a bizarre, sexy week beautifully made up of Leather and Art. There were times, while at my easel, where I'd forget I was in public and begin to take off my clothes only to quickly remember that I couldn't work naked in a room filled with others! I did learn to silence my orgasms as I radiply messied the paper with charcoal.

I learned so much that week. And I crashed hard on Saturday night. The end of a constant whirlwiind of drawing left me bereft. But I knew I'd be back. Since then, I keep my eyes peeled on their catalog. It's pricey and money's been tight. But now I have a year to save and plan. It's a good plan.

Friday, July 16, 2004

(edited on 7/20/04: The name of this essay is not "The Current Darkness" as I originally posted. It is "With Trembling Fingers". I discovered my error while googling for Hal Crowther)

Just in.
It's an eloquent piece.  Poetic and passionate.  Intelligent.
Here is the voice of a patriot.
By Hal Crowther
Hal Crowther is a former writer for Time and Newsweek, the Buffalo News and the North Carolina Spectator before parking his column at the weekly Independent in Durham, N.C., and The Progressive Populist, among others.  He won the H.L. Mencken Award for column writing in 1992. Write him at 219 N. Churton St., Hillsborough, NC 27278.
I used to take a drink on occasion with a network newsman famed for his impenetrable calm -- his apparent pulse rate that of a large mammal in deep hibernation -- and in an avuncular moment he advised me that I'd do all right, in the long run, if I could only avoid the kind of journalism committed to the keyboard "with trembling fingers."  I recognized the wisdom of this advice and endeavored over the years to write as little as possible when my blood pressure was soaring and my face was streaked with tears. The lava flows of indignation ebb predictably with age and hardening arteries, and nearing three-score I thought I'd never have to take another tranquilizer -- or a double bourbon -- to keep my fingers steady on the keys.
I never imagined 2004. It would be sophomoric to say that there was never a worse year to be an American. My own memory preserves the dread summer of 1968. My parents suffered the consequences of 1941 and 1929, and my grandfather Jack Allen, who lived through all those dark years, might have added 1918, with the flu epidemic and the Great War in France that each failed, very narrowly, to kill him. Drop back another generation or two and we encounter 1861.
But if this is not the worst year yet to be an American, it's the worst year by far to be one of those hag-ridden wretches who comment on the American scene. The columnist who trades in snide one-liners flounders like a stupid comic with a tired audience; TV comedians and talk -show hosts who try to treat 2004 like any zany election year have become grotesque, almost loathsome.  Our most serious, responsible newspaper columnists are so stunned by the disaster in Iraq that they've begun to quote poetry by Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen. They lower their voices; they sound like Army chaplains delivering eulogies over ranks of flag-draped coffins, under a hard rain from an iron sky.
Yeats' "blood-dimmed tide is loosed." The war news has already deteriorated from bad to tragic to pre-apocalyptic, which leaves no suitable category for these excruciating reports on the sexual torture of Iraqi prisoners. Fingers, be still. In less than a year, the morale of the occupying forces has sunk so low that murder, suicide, rape and sexual harassment have become alarming statistics, and now the warriors of democracy -- the emissaries of civilization -- stand accused of every crime this side of cannibalism. Osama bin Laden has always anathematized America's culture, as well as its geopolitical influence. To him these atrocities are a sign of Allah's certain favor, a great moral victory, a vindication of his deepest anger and darkest crimes.
Where does it go from here? The nightmare misadventure in Iraq is over, beyond the reach of any reasonable argument, though many more body bags will be filled. In Washington, chicken hawks will still be squawking about  "digging in" and winning, but Vietnam proved conclusively that no modern war of occupation will ever be won. Every occupation is doomed. The only way you "win" a war of occupation is the old-fashioned way, the way Rome finally defeated the Carthaginians: kill all the fighters, enslave everyone else, raze the cities and sow the fields with salt.
Otherwise the occupied people will fight you to the last peasant, and why shouldn't they? If our presidential election fails to dislodge the crazy bastards who annexed Baghdad, many of us in this country would welcome regime change by any intervention, human or divine. But if, say, the Chinese came in to rescue us -- Operation American Freedom -- how long would any of us, left-wing or right, put up with an occupying army teaching us Chinese-style democracy? A guerrilla who opposes an invading army on his own soil is not a terrorist, he's a resistance fighter. In Iraq we're not fighting enemies but making enemies. As Richard Clarke and others have observed, every dollar, bullet and American life that we spend in Iraq is one that's not being spent in the war on terrorism. Every Iraqi, every Muslim we kill or torture or humiliate is a precious shot of adrenaline for Osama and al Qaeda.
The irreducible truth is that the invasion of Iraq was the worst blunder, the most staggering miscarriage of  judgment, the most fateful, egregious, deceitful abuse of power in the history  of American foreign policy. If you don't believe it yet, just keep watching.  Apologists strain to dismiss parallels with Vietnam, but the similarities are stunning. In every action our soldiers kill innocent civilians, and in every other action apparent innocents kill our soldiers -- and there's never any way to sort them out. And now these acts of subhuman sadism, these little My Lais.
Since the defining moment of the Bush presidency, the preposterous flight-suit, Fox News-produced photo-op on the USS Abraham Lincoln in front of the banner that read "Mission Accomplished," the shaming truth is that everything has gone wrong. Just as it was bound to go wrong, as many of us predicted it would go wrong -- if anything, more hopelessly wrong than any of us would have dared to prophesy. Iraq is an epic trainwreck, and there's not a single American citizen who's going to walk away unscathed.
The shame of  this truth, of such a failure and so much deceit exposed, would have brought on mass resignations or votes of no confidence in any free country in the world. In Japan not long ago, there would have been ritual suicides, shamed officials disemboweling themselves with samurai swords. Yet up to this point -- at least to the point where we see grinning soldiers taking pictures of each other over piles of naked Iraqis -- neither the president, the vice president nor any of the individuals who urged and designed this debacle have resigned or been terminated -- or even apologized. They have betrayed no familiarity with the concept of shame.
Thousands of young Americans are dead, maimed or mutilated, XXX billions of dollars have been wasted and all we've gained is a  billion new enemies and a mouthful of dust -- of sand. Chaos reigns, but in the midst of it we have this presidential election. George Bush has defined himself as a war president, and it's fitting that the war should be his undoing. But even now the damned polls don't guarantee, or even indicate, his demise.
Conventional wisdom says that an incumbent president with a $200 million war chest cannot be defeated, and that one who commands a live, bleeding, suffering army in the field is doubly invincible. By this logic, the most destructively incompetent president since Andrew Johnson will be rewarded with a second term. That would probably mean a military draft and more wars in the oil countries, and, under visionaries like Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, a chance for the USA to emulate 19th-century Paraguay, which simultaneously declared war on Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay and fought ferociously until 90% of the male population was dead.
What hope then? Impeachment is impossible when the president's party controls both houses of Congress, though Watergate conspirator John Dean, who ought to know, claims in his new book that there are compelling legal arguments for a half dozen bills of impeachment  against George W. Bush. Peer pressure? At the White House, world opinion gets no more respect than FBI memos or uncomfortable facts. Many Americans seem unaware that scarcely anyone on the planet Earth supported the Iraq adventure, no one anywhere except the 40-50 million Republican loyalists who voted for George Bush in 2000.
Among significant world leaders he recruited only Great Britain's Tony Blair -- whose career may be ruined because most Britons disagree with him -- and the abominable Ariel Sharon, that vile tub of blood and corruption who recently used air-to-ground missiles to assassinate a paraplegic in a wheelchair at the door of his mosque. (Palestinians quickly squandered any sympathy or moral advantage they gained from this atrocity by strapping a retarded 16-year-old into a suicide bomber's kit. Such is the condition of the human race in the Middle East, variously known as the Holy Land or the Cradle of Civilization.) Says Sharon, oleaginously, of Bush: "Something in his soul committed him to act with great courage against world terror."
The rest of the known world, along with the United Nations, has been dead set against us from the start. But they carry no weight. Thanks to our tax dollars and the well-fed, strong but not bulletproof bodies of our children -- though mostly children from lower income families -- George Bush and his lethal team of oil pirates, Cold Warriors and Likudists commands the most formidable military machine on earth. No nation, with the possible exception of China, would ever dare to oppose them directly. But the Chinese aren't coming to save us. Nothing and no one can stop these people except you and me, and the other 100 million or so American citizens who may vote in the November election. This isn't your conventional election, the usual dim-witted, media-manage Mister America contest where candidates vie for charm and style points and hire image coaches to help them act more confident and presidential. This is a referendum on what is arguably the most dismal performance by any incumbent president -- and inarguably the biggest mistake. This is a referendum on George W. Bush, arguably the worst thing that has happened to the United States of America since the invention of the cathode ray tube.
One problem with this referendum is that the case against George Bush is much too strong. Just to spell it out is to sound like a bitter partisan. I sit here on the 67th birthday of Saddam Hussein facing a haystack of incriminating evidence that comes almost to my armpit. What matters most, what signifies? Journalists used to look for the smoking gun, but this time we have the cannons of Waterloo, we have Gettysburg and Sevastopol, we  have enough gunsmoke to cause asthma in heaven. I'm overwhelmed. Maybe I should light a match to this mountain of paper and immolate myself. On the near side of my haystack, among hundreds of quotes circled and statistics underlined, just one thing leaped out at me. A quote I had underlined was from the testimony of Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg trials, not long before Hitler's vice-fuhrer poisoned himself in his jail cell: "... It is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country." Goering's dark wisdom gained weight when a friend called me and reported that Vice President Cheney was so violently partisan in his commencement speech at Westminster College in Missouri -- so rabid in his attacks on John Kerry as an anti-American peace marching crypto-communist -- that the college president felt obliged to send the student body an email apologizing  for Cheney's coarseness.
If you think it's exceptionally shameless for a man who dodged Vietnam to play the patriot card against a decorated veteran, remember that Georgia Republicans played the same card, successfully, against Sen. Max Cleland, who suffered multiple amputations in Vietnam. In 2001 and 2002, George Bush and his Machiavelli, Karl Rove, approved political attack ads that showed the faces of Tom Daschle and other Democratic senators alongside the faces of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. And somewhere in hell, Goering and Gobbles toasted each other with a schnapps.
Am I polarized? I've never been a registered Democrat, I'm sick of this two-party straitjacket, I wish to God it didn't take Yale and a major American fortune to create a presidential candidate. The only current Democratic leaders who show me any courage are Nancy Pelosi and old Bob Byrd -- Hillary Clinton has been especially cagy and gutless on this war -- and John Kerry himself may leave a lot to be desired. He deserves your vote not because of anything he ever did or promises to do, but simply because he did not make this sick mess in Iraq and owes no allegiance to the sinister characters who designed it. And because his own  "place in history," so important to the kind of men who run for president, would now rest entirely on his success in getting us out of it. Kerry made a courageous choice at least once in his life, when he came home with his ribbons and demonstrated against the war in Vietnam. But Sen. Kerry could turn out to be a stiff, a punk, an alcoholic, and he'd still be a colossal improvement over the man who turned Paul Wolfowitz loose in the Middle East. The myth that there was no real difference between Democrats and Republicans, which I once considered seriously and which Ralph Nader rode to national disaster four years ago, was shattered forever the day George Bush announced his cabinet and his appointments for the Department of Defense.
I'm aware that there are voters -- 40 million? -- who don't see it this way. I come from a family of veterans and commissioned officers; I understand patriots in wartime. If a spotted hyena stepped out of Air Force One wearing a baby-blue necktie, most Americans would salute and sing "Hail to the Chief." President Bush cultivated his patriots by spending $46 million on media in the month of March alone. Somehow I'm on his mailing list. (Is that because my late father, with the same name, was a registered Republican, or can Bush afford to mail his picture to every American with an established address?) Twice a week I open an appeal for cash to crush John Kerry and the quisling liberal conspiracy, and now I own six gorgeous color photographs of the president and his wife. I'm sure some of my neighbors frame the president's color photographs and fill those little blue envelopes he sends us with their hard-earned dollars.
I struggle against the suspicion that so many of my fellow Americans are conceptually challenged. I want to reason with my neighbors; I want to engage these lost Americans. What makes you angry, neighbor? What arouses your suspicions? Does it bother you that this administration made terrorism a low priority, dismissed key intelligence that might have prevented the 9/11 catastrophe, then exploited it to justify the pre-planned destruction of Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with al Qaeda?  All this is no longer conjecture, but direct reportage from cabinet-level meetings by the turncoat insiders Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill.
If the Pentagon ever thought Saddam had "weapons of mass destruction," it was only because the Pentagon gave them to him. As Kevin Phillips recounts in American Dynasty, officials of the Reagan and first Bush administrations eagerly supplied Saddam with arms while he was using chemical weapons on the Kurds. They twice sent Donald Rumsfeld to court Saddam, in 1983 and 1984, when the dictator was in  the glorious prime of his monsterhood.
This scandal, concurrent with Iran-Contra, was briefly called "Iraqgate," and, yes, among the names of those officials implicated you'll find most of the engineers of our current foreign policy. (They also signaled their fractious client, Saddam, that it might be all right to overrun part of Kuwait; you remember what happened when he tried to swallow it all.) Does any of this trouble you? Does it worry you that Dick Cheney, as president of the nefarious Halliburton Corporation, sold Iraq $73 million in oilfield services between 1997 and 2000, even as he plotted with the Wolfowitz faction to whack Saddam? Or that Halliburton, with its CEO's seat still warm from Cheney's butt, was awarded unbid contracts worth up to $15 billion for the Iraq invasion, and currently earns a billion dollars a month from this bloody disaster? Not to mention its $27.4 million overcharge for our soldiers' food.
These are facts, not partisan rhetoric. Do any of them even make you restless? The cynical game these shape-shifters have been playing in the Middle East is too Byzantine to unravel in 1,000 pages of text. But the hypocrisy of the White House is palpable, and beggars belief. If there's one American who actually believes that Operation Iraqi Freedom was about democracy for the poor Iraqis, then you, my friend, are too dangerously stupid to be allowed near a voting booth.
Does it bother you even a little that the personal fortunes of all four Bush brothers, including the president and the governor, were acquired about a half step ahead of the district attorney, and that the royal family of Saudi Arabia invested $1.476 billion in those and other Bush family enterprises? Or, as Paul Krugman points out, that it's much easier to establish links between the Bush and bin Laden families than any between the bin Ladens and Saddam Hussein. Do you know about Ahmad Chalabi, the administration's favorite Iraqi and current agent in Baghdad, whose personal fortune was established when he embezzled several hundred million from his own bank in Jordan and fled to London to avoid 22 years at hard labor?
That's just a sampling from my haystack. Maybe I can reach you as an environmentalist, one who resents the gutting of key provisions in the Clean Air Act? My own Orange County, N.C., chiefly a rural area, was recently added to a national register of counties with dangerously polluted air. You say you vote for the president because you're a conservative. Are you sure? I thought conservatives believed in civil liberties, a weak federal executive, an inviolable Constitution, a balanced budget and an isolationist foreign policy.  George Bush has an attorney general who drives the ACLU apoplectic and a vice president who demands more executive privilege (for his energy seances) than any elected official has ever received. The president wants a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage from homosexuals, of all things. Between tax cuts for his high-end supporters and three years playing God and Caesar in the Middle East, George Bush has simply emptied America's wallet with a $480 billion federal deficit projected for 2004 and the tab on Iraq well over $100 billion and running.
"A lot of so-called conservatives today don't know what the word means," Barry Goldwater said in 1994, when the current cult of right-wing radicals and "neocons" had begun to define and assert themselves. Goldwater was my first political hero, before I was old enough to read his flaws. But his was the conservatism of the wolf -- the lone wolf -- and this is the conservatism of sheep.
All it takes to make a Bush conservative is a few slogans from talk radio and pickup truck bumpers, a sneer at "liberals" and maybe a name-dropping nod to Edmund Burke or John Locke, whom most of them have never read.  Sheep and sheep only could be herded by a ludicrous but not harmless cretin like Rush Limbaugh, who has just compared the sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners to "a college fraternity prank" (and who once called Chelsea Clinton "the family dog"  -- you don't have to worry about shame when you have no brain).
I don't think it's accurate to describe America as polarized between Democrats and Republicans, or between liberals and conservatives. It's polarized between the people who believe George Bush and the people who do not. Thanks to some contested ballots in a state governed by the president's brother, a once-proud country has been delivered into the hands of liars, thugs, bullies, fanatics and thieves. The world pities or despises us, even as it fears us. What this election will test is the power of money and media to fool us, to obscure the truth and alter the obvious, to hide a great crime against the public trust under a blood-soaked flag. The most lavishly funded, most cynical, most sophisticated political campaign in human history will be out trolling for fools. I pray to God it doesn't catch you.
A few things this morning.  There's a new movie released in LA and NY this week.  Maria Full of Grace shows a different side of the drug wars.   In Saving Grace, written by Baylen Linken for Alternet, he quotes Joshua Marston (writer/director):
 "My goal was to put a sympathetic face on victims of the 'war on drugs,'" Marston said Wednesday night via phone from a taxi in Miami, where he had just arrived for the movie's local premiere. "Instead of the usual drug war movie that tells a story from the top down – from the perspective of a DEA agent, for example – with Maria, I chose to tell a story from the bottom up."
While the plot brings the preternaturally resourceful Maria from rural Colombia to Bogotá and then New York City, the movie never strays from the director's vision to show the effects of the U.S. government's drug war on regular Colombians.

Plan Colombia, implemented by President Clinton (it was written by Rand Beers, now a senior advisor to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry) and escalated under President Bush, pumps billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars into a failed campaign of military aid, drug interdiction, and crop eradication that leads to the death and displacement of Colombia's most vulnerable – farmers, peasants, ethnic minorities, women and children - while fueling environmental degradation and the country's long-simmering civil war.

"It's an invasive policy," says Marston. "Instead of providing military advisors, helicopters, and fumigation, Plan Colombia should be about providing economic and humanitarian aid."
This also caught my eye in Alternet this morning.  It's a letter by Chris Ownes to Bush proposing constitutional amendments that would support equal protection for all.  I've included the whole letter:
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
I would like to address your new and admirable abandonment of the "states' rights" doctrine so often advocated de facto or de jure by you and those who think like you. I would like to do so ... but I don't know if I can.
Would you now propose and support a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing every American citizen the right to vote? This amendment would be inclusive, have greater authority than contravening state laws, help to ensure that recounts in Presidential elections would be handled in a fair and equitable manner, and give the Supreme Court the constitutional basis for hearing lawsuits regarding the infringement of voting rights.
I didn't think so.

Would you now propose and support a constitutional amendment guaranteeing every American the right to quality and affordable health care? This amendment would be inclusive and would force the 50 separate and disparate state health care delivery systems to guarantee an acceptable minimum level of affordable care, something that the current Medicaid and Medicare systems almost provide for portions of our populace. There would be increased efficiency and possibly decreased costs for both the public and private sectors.
(By the way, we could apply the same approach to education and really leave no child behind.)

I didn't think so.
Would you now propose and support a constitutional amendment that supports every citizen's right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work, to protection against unemployment, to equal pay for equal work, to just and favorable remuneration, and to form and join trade unions? This amendment would be inclusive and provide so many Americans with a sense of pride and dignity through meaningful employment and stronger federal standards for their rights as workers. This amendment would help to address many social issues, including education and crime.
I didn't think so.
Would now you propose and support an amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing all citizens of the United States the right to a clean, safe, and sustainable environment? This amendment would be inclusive and enable us to tackle serious issues both at home and abroad. This amendment would help to ensure that our children will enjoy a future that will reflect in some way the natural wonders enjoyed by our parents and ourselves.

I didn't think so.

Need I go on?
Yet, Mr. President, you would now pursue an amendment to our constitution that does nothing but dehumanize at least ten percent of Americans and divide our nation in the ugliest way. The test of our democracy is not how we handle the will of the majority, but how we support the rights of the minority.
The word "marriage" is written into our legal system. No one is asking any religious denomination to adopt the concept of same-sex marriage if it is incompatible with the theology of that denomination. But I am asking why any American must endure discrimination under the law. This is particularly galling when we are talking about attacking people who wish to support each other through love, to simply be acknowledged as loving couples, and to build families. These are indeed "family values." Other nations understand this; why can't we?
If you and those who think like you cannot accept the concept of "marriage" as applying to people of the same sex, then why not propose an amendment that removes the word "marriage" from our legal world and substitutes the phrase "partnership" and the word "spouse" for "husband" or "wife?" Then everyone would at least be equal under the law.
Short of that, each citizen's right to equal protection under the law is the ultimate test of the American democratic experiment. By supporting such an amendment, you are once again attacking fundamental American values and undermining our Constitution as a living document.
You are again attempting to destroy that which makes America great and the world's leader.

You will not succeed, Mr. Bush. Your cynical move may be politically expedient, but it graphically illustrates the moral bankruptcy that permeates your administration and the philosophical emptiness of the "states' rights" and "New Federalism" movements.
Even when threatened by terrorists, this nation has a much bigger heart and a far greater history than you will ever understand.

Chris Owens

Chris Owens is the campaign manager for the Major R. Owens Congressional campaign.
So The Bear, wonderboy, auxugen and I went to dinner tonight. Stella's. Although it's now called Stellar. Same place, same decor, same food, same kitsch. I prefer Stella's. Good selection of brews. Great food.

The Bear asks, "In regards to yourself, would you prefer condemnation, absolution or both?"
"Hmmm...both I think."
I continued, "absolution is the higher road but condemnation is sexier."
The Bear agreed.
Much tastier.

I think it's the bad boy thing. To be so bad that you can't be forgiven. An outlaw, a renegade, an outcast, a rogue.
Keckler commented on my altar post. He said good stuff, especially this:
"I guess I am saying, there might already be a mirror on our altars. Or, I can put one on there, but whose face is it, really?"

"But whose face is it, really?"
I repeated that to my shrink today, giving Keckler the credit. He loved the question. I've noticed the shrink gets turned on by good questions. As do I.
I then jumped into my question about altars as idols. He said if it would become idolatrous if I gave the objects power. So I asked "what's the point of an altar?" He said, " it can be a mirror." Of course this gives me more to think about. I get that. Keckler was saying the same thing with the first part of his statement.

From what I've seen of altars, including the ones I've created in the past, they tend to be items I'm feeling good about. Comforting, nurturing in a way. They allow me to get to a certain place, a higher plane of sorts. But if the altar can be a mirror, what if I used objects that pushed my buttons? Items that created intense discomfort? That too would be showing me a part of myself.
What would it feel like to spend time in front of an altar that created chaos within?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Freewill Astrology for this week.
Hello, God? It's Me, Dubya
Lord? Bush here. I'm confused. Why won't you crush Kerry and smite the heathens? Hello?

That's today's column by Mark Morford.
Going through blogs I noticed a delightful entry from Draignoeth. It's timely for me because of what I'm experiencing due to God, etc. Read his entry for July 12th. He's firing God.

While on the mountain in NY, in the midst of enjoying good food, great people and AE, who is part of my heart, I enjoyed conversations on a multitude of topics. I met and bonded with a friend of Keckler's. We spent much time hanging out. One night we talked and talked about our leather and play. We shared our love of boots. Another man, who is not into kink, sat in and listened, periodically asking questions. Talk would flow from that, to politics to religion. There was a family visiting one of the men who lived there. This family was Quaker. We spent a morning asking the kids, from about 8 to 15, about their beliefs. Fascinating stuff.

The enviroment I was in lends itself to introspection. It was one large puddle of circular thought, which of course delighted me.

Over breakfast on Saturday morning someone asked me what grounds me. What do I hold onto? The second question I have concerns altars. While in the temple, I noticed the altar. It was filled with objects that were important to the spirituality of the men. Some objects were obviously Catholic in origin, while others affiliated with eastern thought. I did enjoy seeing the diversity upon the altar, harmoniously living together. But it brought about the question "what would I place on my altar?"

What grounds me?
What would lay on my altar?

I don't have an outside source that grounds me. This knowledge unglues me. You see, coming from a religious background we are brought up to believe in an exterior being. No matter what he, she, it is called, it's about living for, drawing strength from and being comforted by this other thing. I no longer have that. What I do have is me. It is clear to me that I am the god I seek. Somehow, in some way, this feels quite blasphemous.

Over the years I've had personal altars. They would evolve with my spirituality. From rosary beads made of olive wood from Jerusalem, to my favorite bible (the Amplified version, lovingly marked, highlighted and filled with notes), on to crystals and incense, then to be replaced with a jar made of beach glass, filled with stones, shells and crab legs picked up over 10 years at the coast. That altar was a tribute to nature.

In my current apartment there is a little green dresser in my dining area. I have placed my collection of deep cobalt blue and other colored glass. Bottles, glassware, and a few vases. Positioned in unlikely ways. One little glass is tipped over the neck of a large bottle. 3 little white porcelain cranes, originally chopstick holders, are sitting silently amidst the tower of glass. It is a shrine devoted to color, clarity and contrast. And laying in front of this is a black leather rose. It is the first piece of leather I earned from Sir. He handed it to me after I completed a huge task that took about 9 months to complete.

While thinking about what would my altar be, this rose came to mind. And while writing this entry, my glassware came to mind. I am a painter. One of my loves is still life painting. The glass represents that for me. My leather. My art.

On Monday, at the shrink's, I descriped the temple's altar to my shrink. He made an interesting comment. He asked if there was a mirror on that altar. I responded no. But that thought stayed with me. It immediately made perfect sense.

Maybe, if I had an altar...or maybe I do, with what I have on the little green dresser...I could see adding a little mirror.

But, because I'm never happy with a simple solution, I have to wonder about the idea of altars. Are altars idolatrous in some way? If so, is that really a good thing? Or is it a way to assist with grounding? Are they required for for a full spiritual life?

See? Loads of questions.
There is much I want to write about and when I think about it, I become overwhelmed. Tonight I realized I can break it all down and simply post snippets instead of one long, drawn out entry. It feels more manageable.

I think I'm still dealing with jet lag, although it's unusual for me. It's never been a problem before. But here it is later Tuesday night and I just wanted to be in bed since 8 pm.

Vacation overall was good. Definitely a mixed bag. I had moments of vacation interspersed with hard work. Now that I've been home for a bit I'm sorting through some family stuff. Sometimes I think that I am harder on my parents than I need to be. Not that I'm cutting them slack, yet instead in the fact that I think I still see them through the eyes of myself as a teenager. As I told a coworker this morning...our parents are tough on us when we are young, and we are tough on them while they are old. I understand why it happens. But it makes me wonder.

Is this all vague? I suppose so. I don't mean to be. But I'm currently writing with a migraine and focusing is difficult. (Oh that reminds me - Note to a kind friend: Yes, while going through work emails this morning, I saw yours. I'll take you up on your offer for assistance with my migraines. Maybe next week?)

Back to the topic at hand.
Let's see if I can explain.

I know the beliefs my parents live by. I know they are in direct contradiction to all that I am. I also know they have absolute love for me. I have no idea how they reconcile their love of their church with their love for me. I didn't think it was possible. My mistake was not giving them enough credit.

Before heading out to NY my parents and I spoke about my job. It was a first. Mom was quite cute actually. They asked for details about what the foundation I work for does. Then she asked, slowly and haltingly using 'the word'. "Do the scholarships go to 'gay' students?"
"Yes mom. Gay, as well as straight kids of gay parents and allied students."

I went on to share some stories from some of our recipients and the pain of growing up queer in rural areas. My dad concurred. I felt their concern for those students. It was a good moment.

This was the first time we spoke of homosexuality since I came out to them many years ago.

After I returned from NY state, my parents wanted info on the place I stayed. I took a breath and spoke calmly, knowing I was taking a chance. But the moment felt right. I mentioned how there are many queers, like me, who are spiritual yet feel disenfranchised by their religion of birth. I knew I was taking a chance because I was essentially saying "your church doesn't want us. Very few churches want us." As an aside, I know there are groups like MCC and Dignity. But the reality is, although you are attempting to create your own space in a specific religion, or priests may individually accept, the dogma and doctrine of most religions do not condone homosexuality. Plain and simple.

I continued and explained there are many queers who have a deep spiritual hunger, a sense of service and a desire for community. We desire a space where we can come together.

To do a sitting silent meditation with 10 men, each with different beliefs in gods or nongods was quite intense. The bell rang, the silence began. A few minutes later my face was wet. For the first time in 30 years while in a spiritual setting, I did not feel isolated. After almost an hour, it rang its conclusion and my heart broke. I had no idea when I'd have the opportunity to share in that kind of sacred space again.

My parents smiled and nodded. They understood what I was saying and agreed. Again, I saw compassion in their eyes.

It shook me up. It took until today to realize that I hadn't and wasn't going to cut them any slack. Because no one at the house would discuss gay marriage considering they live in the one damned state where it's legal, or last year's sodomy ruling, or the Walmart addition of sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination policy, I felt they were shunning the core of who I am.

Today I saw another option. What if they were silent because they were waiting for cues from me? What if they were only nervous about bringing up topics without knowing whether or not I wanted to deal with it?

Knowing there are other possible reasons for silence allowed me to extend some grace over the situation. I lightened up.

Now I have not forgetten how religion was drummed into me for 18 years. I have not forgotten the fact that my dad wanted me to leave the house when I declared myself a nondenominational Christian instead of a catholic. I am acutely aware of the crucifix, statue of Mary and some picture of the Pope in every room of the house. That is what felt so claustrophobic while home these last couple weeks. Seeing reminders everywhere was heavy. Yes I was smothered with pious, toxic dribble as a child. Yes I was informed that you don't say no...and sacrifice is holy. The idea of suffering as godly was brought up at every opportunity, which is often considering as humans we hurt a lot. I couldn't say "I hurt and I wish it would go away." Instead, it was "I have a pain and I offer it up to God." Very objective and matter-of-fact. I can't and won't deny all that.

I do believe that religion is insidious. I have a personal hatred of all things Catholic and Christian. I cringe. At the same time I won't deny anyone their beliefs. What does bother me is how most religions worry about others instead of themselves. The most 'devoted' person is concerned with the salvation of someone else and neglects their own life, not taking responsibility for it. That is what I hate. I personally think that with religion, everyone should mind their own goddammed business. Focus on your own prayers. Don't worry about how others pray.

I hate the way missionaries felt they needed to convert the heathen natives. Catholicism was the one truth. I've read of other denominations doing the same. If you want to do good...leave your bible and rosary beads at home. Instead, pick up a hammer and help build a house. Assist at a shelter. Volunteer. Lead by your actions not your words. If someone is interested or curious, they will ask. Otherwise I don't feel it's appropriate.

Maybe my views are too harsh. But I overdosed on religion and haven't gotten over it. Some kids have alcoholic parents. Some kids have physically violent parents. Those kids grow up with guilt and shame and horrid trauma. Guilt they are never good enough. Shame to the point where you don't want to bring your friends home. You're utterly embarrassed by your parents. And fear.

I didn't have the black eyes, screams and fights. But I had plenty of guilt, shame and fear.

There was extra guilt because I knew that my folks were volunteering and helping, in addition to pushing religion. Their actions were good. Yet I despised it.
I grew up being jealous of god because He took away my family. God had the attention I craved.

My parents meant well. If they had any idea what it did, they would be crushed. Seeing they're in their mid-seventies and getting more feeble each day, it would be cruel for me to talk about it with them. So instead, I work it out in my shrink's office. I continually double-check to make sure I'm not enabling or glossing over anything. Yet I'm learning how to let go and ultimately forgive. It will be a while.

In the meantime, I saw new parents this weekend. By taking off the glasses of a teenager and opening my eyes, I saw their hearts.

Complex and contradictory. But that's life, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I'm back!!!!

We landed at 12:30 yesterday. At 1 pm I'm waiting in baggage claim with Sir, who picked me up. It felt so good to receive his hugs. We head over so I can pick up my car, which was left at his home. Spent a couple minutes and then buzzed to my 2pm therapy appointment. :-) From there I popped into work for a bit and dropped off 4 paintings that I brought back from my mom's. (I'll talk about those later). Then to The Bear and wonderboy's for more to dinner and I finally arrived home with bags about 7. My ISP was down so I couldn't access anything. It was just as well because I fell asleep about 8:30~

Today I'm easing back into work. It's a voicemail, email catchup day. This evening I'm catching up on blogs. I can't wait to read about what you've been up to.

I'll try to pop in during the day, but need to get started on the work email.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Just got home from my mini vacation. I didn't mean to leave so abruptly. But family get-togethers came fast and furious. Next thing I knew I was packed and headed for upper NY state.

I've barely been gone 3 days and it feels like a week. A glorious, incredibly restful week. It was 3 days of no phones, no computers, no tv, no newspapers and no clock. Heaven. Sheer heaven. I kayaked, I read, I painted, I sat, I meditated, and I shared amazing space with an amazing group of men.

I promise. I will go into further detail. If not tomorrow...then when I get back to Seattle. Actually, that's probably what will happen. It's tough spending lots of time on the computer while my family is up. I would rather spend it with them...(yea, even when they drive me nuts).

Right now, I'm going to catch up on email and hit the hay.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

A quickie for now.

Today's Freewill Astrology.

I have details to wrap up...such as directions for tomorrow. I'll be spending 3 days with Always Erect. And I just discovered that I need to call work a little later and deal with an issue. It shouldn't take long, but one of those things.

Back later.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Mea culpa.

I have been remiss. Remiss in bringing you Mark Morford. Let's blame it on vacation. Let's blame it on heat and humidity. Let's blame it on too much lobster (although is there really such a thing as too much lobster? I think not!) while at the coast or the mind-numbing, limb-restricting, non-consensual bondage created by the ridiculous religious platitudes and sophmoric sanctified phrases that dribble off the tongues of my parents and my brother.

I have come to my senses. Mea culpa.

Here is last Wednesday's column and Mark is pissed.

He writes about the assault weapons ban that will be no more.

"Isn't that great? To hell with logic and to hell with your kids' safety and to hell with even trying to prevent moron gangbangers and terrorist wanna-bes and imbecilic white supremacists from easily getting their hands on a nice AK-47 that can mow down a schoolyard full of tots in 10 seconds flat. Instead: Down with liberal scum who would take away our God-given right to bear nasty ultraviolent weaponry that no one anywhere can justify the existence of. Go, NRA!"

Last Friday's column was somewhat timely for me. You see, I do not own a cell phone. We have 3 holdouts at work who do not own cell phones. I don't want to be that accessible. When I am with friends, I am with friends. When I'm at work, I'm at work. So what is the purpose of a cell phone?

I can see it being handy in an emergency. While moving out here, I almost rented one for the week. What if my car broke down in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night?

The last three weeks have shown me my need for a cellphone. And it's all your fault! The overwhelming number of people who own cellphones have created such a change in society that yes, it is pushing me to even consider the idea. Public pay phones are no longer easily found. We don't need 'em. Everyone has cell phones. While on the hunt for apartments, rental agents all assumed that everyone had cellphones. One quarter of the appointments made included the instructions "okay, let's meet at the door at 1 pm, but call me when you arrive."

"Call you with what? I don't own a cell."
"You don't? Oh...that's a problem, isn't it?"

I can hear the dripping sarcasm in their voice and see points being taken off as a possible tenant because I refuse to get with the times.

Or better yet. They'd say "go to the apartment and you'll see a sign for manager."
Silly me. I assume a buzzer goes with the sign. But the sign includes their damned number and you need to dial that number on...yup...your cellphone.

So, 3 weeks of this made me wonder if maybe I need to stop being stubborn and join the rest of humanity and have a little piece of plastic permanently attached to my ear.

Last week was the clincher. My desire to make plans to see about 10 people in 3 days at the coast and Boston without a cellphone was nearly impossible. I'd email or call. I'd include the home phone of where I was staying and how long I'd be there. If on the road I'd need to pull off and try to find a pay phone. It made the scheduling so much harder and frustrating. So much so that I have made my decision. In September or October...once I've caught up on some bills...I resigned myself to the fact that I will get a cellphone.

It will not come to work with me. I have no business having my phone at work. And I won't keep it on. Everything can go to voice mail. But I'll have it for emergencies, or if I need to get a hold of someone or whatever else may come up.

You see I have pet peeves regarding cells which explains my obstinance with ownership. Social skills and manners are disappearing. I detest the fact that someone and I can make plans and yet the phone will ring and that person becomes the priority in the moment. Emergencies are one thing. But people don't know how to say "I'm busy at the moment. I'll call you back when I'm free."

I hate the driving with a phone, the eating with a phone, the fucking with a phone. I don't understand what is so important that it can't wait. Real emergencies are few and far between.

That's my beef. I've had to speak with a few friends over the last 6 years and say "Either this time is for us or it isn't. Let me know. If you'd rather talk to someone else, I'm leaving and we'll reschedule."

People have to silence their phone while in the theater. They don't have a problem doing that. It seems to me that movies are more important than the person standing next to you that you've decided to spend a couple hours with or the job you are hired to do and paid to give your full attention to.

Well, now to Morford's column for last Friday. He goes off on a different vein. Check out My Cell Phone Induces Orgasm
Also cooks perfect eggs, IMs with Jesus, will marry your ugly cousin. How about yours?

Monday, July 05, 2004

You know...or maybe you don't because I haven't mentioned it...until now, that is. I have discovered that blogging is currently difficult. I'm back with the parents and once again it's incredibly stifling. In an interesting way I feel I'm revisiting the pain of my youth, yet now from a place of awareness. My senses are overly heightened to the spoken and silent words. I don't like what I'm seeing and hearing.

Because of this I discover I carry, in addition to love, a large amount of loathing, especially for my father, that borders on hate.

This frustrates me because I felt I was increasing my compassion with therapy. Right now I'm not feeling very compassionate. Or maybe that's because I'm equating compassion with warm, fuzzy love.

I'm on vacation. My family is incredibly exhausting. I want to selfishly take the time to write and explore so much that's inside. I want to share with you the amazing last few days. I want to email lengthy, chatty letters to my Leather family. I want to do all that I haven't had the time to do in the last few months.

Instead I discover that this appears to be the time to deal with some family stuff that I've been working on in therapy. Fucking sexy, eh?


I suppose though, it's quite necessary. I suppose I ought to let go of my expectations and allow myself to be in whatever this is. I suppose this is life.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Having returned from a great time on the coast I'm back with my parents for 4 days. I'll share more details in the next couple days.

Yesterday I drove to Boston, parked the car at the end of the red line and took the T into town. That way, after a long day, it would be a quick hop to the MA pike.

Yup, I met Blackbird and Keckler. Blackbird and I spent a whirlwind hour and a half before he had family obligations. It was wonderful. He is buoyant, full of life. To talk with him face to face after our many hours on the phone felt so good.

From there I met Keckler. We had more time together. And it didn't feel like enough. We talked and walked and talked. Great guy as well. I felt we clicked in many ways.

While driving to the 'rents last night I felt so fortunate. 2 new men in my life. Good hearted, highly intelligent, delighfully perverted pigs. Also the touch of leather after almost a full vanilla week was desperately needed.

We speak of community. I have new additions to larger family. Meeting them both was so comfortable. I didn't sense any awkwardness or feel anxious. Honestly, I had a tough time leaving.

In one too short afternoon, the world felt delightfully small.

Friday, July 02, 2004

I'm back for a bit. After spending 4 hours out, a nap is calling my name. Then I head out to meet my second oldest friend and afterwards I do dinner with another.

I drove around all morning. Hugged the coast in my rented Neon. I went down little streets and smiled at all the homes with dates attached. 1693, 1672 etc. That's part of what I love about this area. The old. To constitute a home as old in Seattle, it needs to be built around 1920.

I followed the water all over the place. Old grey shacks on docks with people sitting, patiently waiting with their poles in the water. Fishing boats, little harbors and lobster traps. I love lobster traps. Maybe it's the bondage thing. In Newcastle there are many little islands. Very little, like an acre large. One has a home on it that's been falling down from the first time I saw it, 20 years ago. It's still sagging and settling, yet about 4 feet off the ground. It's always intrigued me.

Once I tackled the NH coastline I was headed up to Ogunquit only to change my mind. For some reason, I didn't see the need or have the desire. Instead I wanted to go to UNH in Durham, and then follow 108 west into Newmarket. My last apartment before moving to Seattle was in Newmarket. I loved it so much I was there 6 years. Driving up to my old home brought back lots of feelings. The house is still the same. It's an immaculate, large Victorian with 5 apartments. But the vacant grassy field across the street is now a drugstore and a MacDonald's. The little auto dealer who sold only Carmen Ghia's and Alpha Romeo's two doors down is gone. Instead, there's a big ugly shiny Irving gas station.

I followed the route to my old job. I always thought it was the prettiest commute ever. Today I wondered why. It is nice. But I wonder if I idealized it because I fit so well in my apartment, school, town and the area. It was perfect for the time.

Today I am letting go. There is something perfect about the timing of this trip. My 6 years on the seacoast area were a time of growth for my art. I learned and honed skills. I began to really blossom as an individual. Then Seattle called my name. It's been a tumultuous 6 years and I'm leaning into a new phase. Two weeks after I return from vacation I will be living in an apartment building of artists. 6 years learning art techniques and discover my Painter. 6 years to intensely discover myself and my S/M, my Leather. And now seems to be the time to pull everything together. It's an exciting period.
Found 'em!

Trying not to panic due to glasses being missing for a few hours, I called my host at work. "Yeah, I saw them. They are on the shelf in the bathroom."

Walking into the bathroom, no glasses. They had slipped and were laying on the floor next to the toilet. Huge relief.

So now I'm headed to the shower, then out the door. Rt. 1A (the shore road) is calling my name. I want to rediscover Hampton, Rye, and head up to Ogunquit. Being a holiday weekend, it'll be less crazy now then later.

The sun is out and it's not too hot. Yes!
I just reread last night's entry and noticed how tired I was. Instead of going back and editing for errors...I'll leave it. I have other things to do. Somehow I've misplaced my glasses this morning. Yes, it's quite unsettling because it never happens. Not like this. I've gone thru the house twice and figured I'd take a break. It's probably under my nose and I'm looking right past them. I want to get to the water but have to find these damned glasses first.

See ya.