Thursday, June 30, 2005

Wow...and I thought Canada was going to be the 3rd country to legalize same sex marriage. They have one more vote. It should happen by the end of the month.

I'm titillated because Spain...hear that?...Spain, a CATHOLIC country just legalized same sex marriage. The cracks in the patriarchal, infallible, oh so holy institution are getting deeper. Can't wait to see how Rome reacts and what will happen next.

I like how this is really continuing to push the issue of not only gay rights, but on some level, forcing everyone to look at who's entitled to what and why. Backlash? Of course. It's a given byproduct of moving forward.

Again...I have no desire for marriage or any traditional relationship. It is so not me. If I ruled the world...I would get rid of legal marriage all together. Instead, allow religious and spiritual entities to do their ceremonies, if folks wanted that "commitment" aspect...but the gov't would stay out of the whole business.

Everyone would have health care, education and food if needed. We could adults be entitled to assign our benefits (in case of death or whatever) who we desired - be it a blood relative, a chosen partner...or even partners.

There's one fantasy.
I think I just figured something out.

In my earlier entry this evening I spoke of some cage paintings I've been struggling with. Well, that is until I stopped painting a year and a half ago.

I have the solution for them. No, I can't quite visualize a finished painting, but I can clearly see the process. That's strange for me.

Something clicked in the simple act of posting the more realistic piece yesterday, with tonight's more abstracted one. The cage pieces. I've been working so hard to hold onto what was and fought to keep it realistic. I wanted to see my face, my body writhing in orgasm...all contained within the cold hard rusted steel. What if I let go of my clenched attachment to the original vision? What if I allow it to be what it screams to be? What if I grab my gutts and blow the fucker apart?

The first sight was a good place to start. But why am I still holding on to it? There's so much paint on the canvas now. Last I saw, it was one blurred muddy bloody mess. It's time to let go of that past and not fear what's inside me.

Can I tell you how exciting that feels? This feels?

In one more week I'm on vacation. Two weeks to paint, rest, write, drink, walk and live my cafe life. I can't wait.

I'm glad I've been able to post work because it's putting me in the mindset in the fiercest way. On top of it, for the first time ever, I am overloaded with ideas of paintings I want to do. And it's not going to overwhelm me. I'll just begin with what feels right at the time.

7 more days.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Want to see one of my favorite paintings?

This was done around the same time as the one I showed yesterday. The reason I like it is because there is a massive amount of history (and paint!) beneath the surface. I worked it, and reworked it...watched it continually evolve into something new. Then...then this happened. It just seemed to appear magically and I haven't a fuckin' clue how. At the time, I decided the painting was a premonition of sorts...because it was fairly different than anything I'd done before. I wish I still had this one. The labor pains have kept me emotionally attached to the damned thing. I had, and have never worked harder on a painting.

Hmmm...maybe not as hard but I do have a few paintings that have been in progress for about 4 years. And I refuse to call it quits. They are from photos of me in Sir's cage. So not easy to do. And therefore...still not done. Those may top this painting, if I ever complete them that is. Now that I think of it, I wonder if I'm blocked with the cage paintings because I'm really emotional about the subject. Maybe I need to sacrifice them to what really cries to be painted on those canvases.

It'll be interesting to see how they bloom.

Back to this old piece - it's oil on canvas, 1996 and about 14x20. (click to enlarge)

And...don't get too comfortable. I won't be showing work everyday. :-)
The best quote I've heard in a very long time.

"We are a nation of minorities. And in a nation of minorities, it is important that you don't cherry-pick rights."
-Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin - June 28, 2005

Too bad our government will not admit to the same with our country.

Prime Minister Martin spoke those words yesterday when the Canadian Parliament argued whether or not to legalize same sex marriage. He continued with:

"A right is a right and that is what this vote tonight is all about."

From the Canadian Press, Canada, June 28, 2005
Canada votes to allow gay marriage
Alexander Panetta, Canadian Press

OTTAWA (CP) -- It was fought in courtrooms, in legislatures, in street protests, and one of the most turbulent debates in Canadian history was settled Tuesday with a vote in Parliament.

The House of Commons voted 158 to 133 to adopt controversial legislation that will make Canada the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

Several Liberals marked the occasion by invoking the memory of their party's philosopher king, Pierre Trudeau.

It was the late Liberal prime minister who decriminalized homosexuality in 1969, and whose Charter of Rights and Freedoms became the legal cudgel that smashed the traditional definition of marriage.

Read the rest of the article here.
Morford is in great form today. For real. It's a good piece. He writes about Hollywood's dilution of good children's literature, more specifically the up and coming Chronicles of Narnia in Keep Your Foul Paws Off Aslan.

"But while the Narnia series is merely, on one level, a children's empowerment fable, it's also one of the most imaginative and potent inner landscapes ever created in children's lit and therefore you hope it's not all decimated and bleached out and diluted by The Bad News, which is that it's being produced and marketed by that ultimate destroyer of nuance and subtlety, Disney.

Yes, Disney. The megacorporate kiss of death when it comes to making intricate, carefully wrought, wickedly imaginative films that don't dumb down the allegories and simplify the good/evil dichotomies and make the characters all wacky or super-cutesy or dopey or completely over-the-top ridiculous or snarlingly obnoxious like Karl Rove in a lizard suit."

And today, my horoscope so rocked. Thank you Rob Brezsny.
For all the Capricorns:

Do you have an unconscious belief that the forces of evil are loud, vigorous, and strong, while good is quiet, gentle, and passive? If so, you'll soon get vivid evidence that will contradict your theory. Are you secretly suspicious of joy because you think it's inevitably rooted in wishful thinking and a willful ignorance about the true nature of reality? If so, your suspicions are about to be exposed as unfounded. Do you fear that when you're in the presence of love and beauty you tend to become softheaded, whereas you're likely to feel smart and powerful when sneering at the ugliness around you? Get ready to see an alternative possibility.

And for the rest of you, check out this week's Freewill Astrology.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

How about a self portrait?

Oil on canvas. About 24"x36". 1996.

Yup, it's me.
Seeing I always tense up in front of a camera...this is one I don't hate.

Thanks to Blogger Images...a brand spanking new incredibly user friendly free feature from Blogger.
More thoughts on Pride.

I had the opportunity to see a young, freshly out 16 year old boy from a small town in Arkansas, who was in Seattle visiting his gay relative for Pride week. The wonder and awe in his eyes made a profound impact on me. He was jubilant and commented that, "seeing it's Pride week, we must all be wicked excited, right?" It was a good reminder of how comfortable we've become. I know, because of my job, that most in our region....especially Alaska, Idaho and Montana, have it rough. I hear of the torment and isolation. But to stand in front of this kid and see the light in his hits home.

Speaking with the Bear last night, I remembered there IS a difference between a march and a parade. Gay Pride began as a march and has morphed into a parade. As the Bear said "once you have floats...."
So maybe we need both?

The parade is about celebration. Pageantry. See and be seen. I've been doing these since 1982 or '83 and have only missed a couple. The first years were in Boston, where I watched. I was in awe and thrilled. But I couldn't imagine walking in them. A few years later, I was at the first New Hampshire gay prides. A small group huddled in Concord, in front of the state house steps. We didn't even march. It was a rally. It was the same weekend as the Rites of Spring, the large biker fest in Loudon which attracts bikers from all over the country. That Friday night, our little group collectively held our breath as we heard and saw the main drag filled with bikers working their way to their weekend event. Holding our signs, we wondered how they felt and if they'd cause trouble. The second year the group doubled and we marched around the block of the state house. I'll never forget the feeling.

Regarding the Seattle I said before, "screw the merchants". Although we all have a right to our opinions, I don't believe it's up to the merchants to say it should stay on Broadway. That should be left to the participants. We should decide to continue to give the extra revenue to the shops and restaurants that have been good to us.

Oh addition, I would love to see how many of these businesses and large corporate sponsors carry domestic partner benefits, as well as have a nondiscrimination policy that includes protection for sexual orientation and gender identity. I have yet to do the research and so don't know where they stand, but we should not be accepting any money or sponsorships unless they do.

Although I believe the festivities should be kept on Broadway...I'm really annoyed with two reasons most frequently mentioned:

I'm not going to walk in a longer parade. I can't.
(That's ridiculous. First...our parade route is pretty short to begin with. What I've seen in longer routes, is, if folks can't walk the whole route, they'll stand some distance to the end that's comfortable for them...and then join their group as it passes.)

And the reason that pisses me off the most:
We have to keep it in the gay ghetto otherwise the chances of our getting gaybashed are greater. It's not safe!
(I am surprised how often I've heard this one, including reading it in different articles. Not only does it show their ignorance regarding the origin of gay pride...ummm Freedom Day, but attests and affirms the vast amount of complacency found not only in our culture, but in our society. Mark Morford once wrote that maybe we deserve all that's happening in our country because honestly, we haven't suffered enough. I think he's right.)

It will be interesting to see what happens next year. I do believe we need to return to the political. In this week's SGN, there was a small blurb about Portland's gay pride. Anti-assimilationists crashed the parade with "We want anal penetration, not Gay Pride assimilation!"
Here is a link to the article from a Portland paper.

It's all muddied waters, isn't it?

Monday, June 27, 2005

What's your best feeling? What I mean is, do you have special 'ahhh' moments? Other than sex, that is. Really simple, regular almost meaningless, passyouby blips of time. Or they would be if a satisfied 'ahhh' didn't slip your lips.

You know the little thing, that when done, leads to what may feel like the ultimate, in the moment.

A few of mine...

This is my favorite. After a long hot sunny day at the ocean I pack my things and trek back to the car. Every part of me is sticky, sandy and salty. I feel good and at the same time, tired from the sea. I head back to the hotel to clean up before going out to dinner. That moment...oh...that moment in the shower when I feel the clean water against my burnt skin and just after I'm dried off is probably my biggest 'ahhh' moment. So much so that even years later, since I haven't had a beach day in that long, all I have to do is close my eyes, remember...and feel the ahhh.

Another. Last year, after finishing my move, the Bunny, Auxugen and I went over to Alki for Duke's chowder and wine. We were exhausted. Our legs hurt. Our backs hurt. After dinner, we walked across the street to the beach. It was August. We all kicked off our shoes and stood in the cool water...ankle deep. The tide was moving in and out. The sand and small rocks were a loofa on the soles of our feet. The coolness of the water and the grittiness against our feet...we at the same time exhaled "ahhhh". It was rejuvenating.

Yesterday. Home from Pride. After being on my feet most of the 10 hours, in my sandals...normally very comfortable....I returned home. Needing to go out a little later, I noticed it cooled down and so popped on some thick white athletic socks and my shoes. Stepping outside, it was another "ahhh" moment. My feet were cushioned, warm and contained.

Pride. It was a long day...and a good one. After the breakfast, I walked to the staging area for the leather crowd. It was about 10:30. The parade started at 11 and our group didn't begin walking until after 12. We were something like 131 out of 180 groups. I had some play before the parade began...a little here and a little there. One guy after messing with my nipples began punching me hard in the chest. They were powerful punches because it took all my effort to remain standing after each impact. Seriously hot. my chest is still painful to the slightest touch. It was a fun crew to walk with. And I have ideas to juice it up for next year.

If we are a bunch of queer sex perverts...why aren't we being more transgressive? In addition, Seattle is filled with bondage folks. So why aren't some of us walking in hoods, (led by others), and straightjackets and rope harnesses. One boy, a friend of mine had a tiger tail butt plug in. He was in a rubber shirt and pants, with a zipper up the ass that was opened to accomodate the plug.

Next year...I'm putting something together.

I dressed for comfort this year. And that meant no boots. My feet were in sandals. Jeans, tanktop. And red hanky in my back right. It was an interesting decision. On one hand...why not do it up...even with the little leather I have? Boots, belt, rubber flogger at my side. I've done it before. On the other hand...I like it when people, leather and nonleather, especially bystanders, ask me where my leather is. "Here it is" I respond, tapping my heart with a smile. Honestly, I like seeing that small flash of confusion in their eyes. This year I opted for comfort and fuck the 'look'.

It was 2pm by the time our parade section arrived at Volunteer Park. Separating myself from the group, I strolled through the area. I like going to Pride stag. It's always fun to see who I'll hook up with or bump into. This time...I saw most everyone, including Hoss, his boy, Tag, Qnetter and the crew. From there I knew I had to eat. My diet thus far consisted of one cup of coffee, one banana, a power bar and a bottle of water. Thing is, I had no cash, just my debit card. Walking into the food area, hitting a wall of people, I figured I'd be able to borrow cash from someone for the food booths.

Almost walking into Sir, I discovered he was in the same predicament. On top of it, there were so many people in the food area, we decided to eat off the grounds. On our way, we saw another guy, Firetop who needed food as well. The three of us ended up at a Thai restaurant about 5 blocks away, where we enjoyed great food, sake and quiet. Afterwards I walked back to man the booth and then helped with takedown.

Pride was fun. The naked bikeriders were out this year. Fully out. They traditionally hit the Fremont Solstice parade, normally in body paint...although some flaunt their beautiful bare skin. Not only did they ride in the parade, again a few in body paint and the others without, but before it began they circled our block 3 times, intentionally going right past the East Precinct police department.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were in full regalia. I revel in their sense of theater. Before the parade I ran into a coffeeshop to pick up a treat for someone else. One of the Sisters came into the shop...rode in on her bicycle, in full habit and waiting in line. I was ahead of her and while talking, I noticed she was famished and blood sugar was dropping. Seeing I was closer, I grabbed a pastry for the dear nun...which she wolfed down right there, then paid the cashier, gave a big thank you and a smile and then happily biked out of the cafe. LOL.

Yeah, I love Pride.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Happy Pride!

I love Pride day. And although I love the core stuff, I don't like what it's becoming. This year, because I am burnt out, I'm not engaging in Pride in the same way.

I'm currently at work, because I'm waiting for our scholarships manager. On Pride morning, we traditionally hold a breakfast for our scholars who've been awarded scholarships this year. After the breakfast, they head to the parade site where we have a donor who has access to old classic convertibles for our contingency of scholars to ride the parade route in style. So this year, I'm assisting with the breakfast before I head down to walk with the leather contingency. Maybe.

I may or may not walk the parade route. I'll meet up with the group...socialize a bit, and see how I feel. It's possible I may return home to bed before my stint at the booth this afternoon.

Yesterday, I popped by the booths for a bit. It was sad to see more and more booths that are trying to get the gay buck. There was even some type of car dealership with some of their cars showcased.

There's a controversy this year because the Seattle Pride committee wants to move Pride to the Seattle Center, instead of the park in the gay ghetto. They plan on increasing it from a 2 day event to a 4 day event. I haven't read anything about the parade route and so not sure what's up with that. The merchants on Broadway are up in arms because they wouldn't get the business during Pride weekend. Screw the merchants.

I've always wondered about our parade route. So we've fought for the right to march thru our own neighborhood? Little ridiculous to me. I do believe that the parade route should be downtown. But I'm not sure about the Seattle Center part.

We must return to the spirit and original intent of Pride. It was a political action and needs to be so again.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

An Idler's Life

This is an interesting article on how overworked we are and the impact it has on decreased creativity. It's an interview by Katie Renz of Mother Jones with Tom Hodgkinson regarding his book, How to be Idle.

Maybe I need to post this at my desk and try to be conscious about applying more of this into my days. I currently have accrued 100 hours of vacation time, 48 hours of paid executive leave and 178 hours of sick time. In August, my 5 year anniversary, I'll receive an additional week of vacation.

My time off is mostly spent catching up on rest from overpushing myself during the week. That is, if I haven't booked myself silly with social stuff....also an attempt to catch up.

An excerpt from the article:
TH: What I've found in working less is you start to get a bit more involved in the more real politics, which is local politics that affect what's going on in your own community. Also, you have time to do things because they're fun and not because you get paid. We have an idea that if something we're doing isn't actually earning money, or spending it, then it's completely worthless. But if you start to work less, you can actually start to give more to society, but on a local level.

The idea of a government is to create an ordered, willing work force where there's no trouble. I think idlers are generally seen as potentially dangerous because they're asking questions.

MJ: How do you think overwork affects creativity?

TH: For most of us, the opportunity to become creative is being squeezed at both ends. We think, "Well, I've been doing all that work, and now I'm going to reward myself by doing a lot of spending." What would happen in the days before time was money and money and machines weren't quite so dominant would be you'd have all this other time when you'd do what turned into hobbies. Little things like making clothes, baking bread, cooking, even useless things like bird-watching, sketching flowers, playing guitar in the home -- that sort of time is gone. And the time we have? We're so exhausted, we want to let ourselves get sucked in to the escape world of TV. I'm speaking from experience; I'm not above all this.

I like the idea of becoming [fairly] good at lots of things rather than very good at just one thing. So it would be nice to be okay at the guitar or at the piano, a reasonable cook, perhaps able to fix your car or do some basic carpentry, and be able to write the odd article. Rather than being super good at one tiny thing, to be kind of average at lots of things. It might mean that you have a more kind of enjoyable, complete life.

MJ: What do you think the world would look like if a lot of people read your book and followed its advice? What would it take to get people to shift to a less hectic lifestyle?

TH: Hopefully it would be full of people bicycling along the streets and whistling and raising their hats to each other [laughs]. Going for long walks in the countryside, and mucking about each day. What would it take for that to happen? I don't really know. What I find incredibly depressing is, as I tried to demonstrate in the book, some quite good people have put putting forth what I'm saying in books and essays for the past thousands of years and it just seems to have gotten worse. I don't put much faith in the political system because it's a question of how are you going to run capitalism, not how are we going to develop a different system to capitalism.

If you do it, other people might think, well actually, I can do it too. The book is supposed to inspire people to follow their own path. How much money do I actually need? How many pairs of shoes do I need?

Good stuff to think about.
It's been a busy and intense week. Work has been crazy. I'm realizing how burnt out I am. My plate is full and I really can't take any new projects or major problem solving before my vacation. I tried...and there is no creative energy left for my job. Good thing vacation is in a couple weeks. I realized how fried I was on Thursday when something huge was dumped on me. After struggling with it, I walked into the conference room, closed the door and sobbed. I was spent.

It didn't help that I've been working on letting go of childhood fantasies of how a parent should be. I think I'm mourning that. With the shrink away this past week, everything was heightened. So much so, that my body fiercely reacted. I had migraines every evening, and other stuff that I'm not going to mention. TMI.

In therapy, I'm at the point where I'm fully dependent on him and it terrifies the bejesus out of me. That's a lot of need to throw on someone. And it is a helluva lot of trust. Yesterday the shrink came back and we had a 7pm appt. Of course he's thrilled with where I'm at...because he sees this as a necessary and critical juncture. According to him, I needed to get to this place so I could move past. I'm glad someone is feeling good about it.

After dropping AE off at his mom's early this morning, I'm home relaxing. I was supposed to help a friend and his partner move today. But seeing I've had a week of migraines, and I have to work Pride day's more prudent for me to stay home and relax. I felt bad cancelling. Call me crazy yet I love helping people move. For me, spending a day being physical, getting sweaty and just being told what to do is relaxing. It gets me out of my head.

Oh yeah, have I mentioned that I haven't felt sexy in a whole week? That's unsettling to me. I understand why...but it's gross. I guess purging old stuff is never pretty.

Friday, June 24, 2005

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Life is really odd, isn't it?

And I swear parents have a sixth sense. Or mine do.

I've been dealing with the idea of how to be with the knowledge that my folks can only love me the way they know how. They can't deal with certain aspects of my life which means that whenever I spend any time with them, in person, on the phone or even emails...I feel partially amputated. Yeah, it hurts.

I had decided that maybe I'd take a little time off from parental contact to work through my stuff and learn how to let go of child fantasies of what a parent should be like. Then, I hoped that I could approach them with compassion. Love them as they are and not allow their silence to wound me. Love them without expectation.

Guess what?

My dad called me yesterday morning. He wanted my checking account information because he was in the process of wiring the balance of my student loan. I tried, once again, to tell him it wasn't necessary. Futile exercise.

Last night he left me a voice mail stating the transaction went through and I needed to complete the payoff.
Today, I went online, saw the money available in my account, and so accessed my student loan online and did indeed pay it off.

Afterwards, I called him and let him know. He let out a deep breath and said " I feel better. I can rest easier."
His voice betrayed the anxiety and guilt he somehow felt for not having paid for school. That made me feel bad, because when we went through this a couple months ago, at the time of the big check to be applied to the loan, I tried to make him understand that he assisted me quite a bit in school. I never expected all of this.

I was to be paying my student loan until 2017. I would have been 57 years old when it was paid off.

I'm a little numb...kinda in shock.

And in some way, this shows me that whatever I need to figure out, in relation to my parents, I need to do while still connecting with them.

Although I gave him the payoff amount, I noticed he threw an extra $600...rounded it up. So now there's also money to fix my car, get needed tires, replace my naturalization papers and yes...sign up for some type of workshop at the Seattle Academy of Fine Arts held during my July vacation.

When the realization that my emotional needs were greater than what my parents could give...all I knew to do was to keep an open heart and continue waking up each morning. Somehow I have to trust myself that the answers to healing a relationship lay within me. With time it will continue to unfold.

I am very thankful. Still floored, but grateful. It's lightened my financial load considerably. And it does reaffirm how much he does love me...which I never doubted. I just wanted to be able to share more of my life with them. But I guess I'm learning another way to be their kid.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Well...I've just seen the proofs from the photo shoot I was a part of two weeks ago. It was very successful. Everyone who participated, from the photographer who put everyone at ease to the art director, makeup, and all the models, did an amazing job. Loads of shots. And surprisingly, I actually found a few good shots of me, where I don't have my eyes closed, a goofy look or am all gums when I smile. Once I have permission to nab a few I will. Then I'll get help and post some here. Promise. Really!
Good morning.

Here are Rob Brezsny's 'scopes for this week.

In Morford's column today, he questions why the Downing Street memos are plastered all over the news.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

This I Believe-

I was reading i_maenad's journal last week and noticed a good piece based on the NPR program This I Believe. From the website: This I Believe is an exciting national media project that invites Americans from all walks of life to write about and discuss the core beliefs that guide their daily lives.

You can submit a short essay that may get chosen to be read on NPR.

I_maenad shared hers with us... :

When I was 13, it was the Piéta.

I walked into a huge medieval church in Milan. Even inside the church, morning mist drifted above my head. A service was being conducted in another wing: Maybe 30 faithful, dwarfed by the ancient stones, sang hymns.

Our tour group literally tiptoed in the other direction. There it was. The Piéta, Michelangelo's marble portrait of the dead Jesus draped across his grieving mother's lap, was softly lit in its own alcove.

I was not a Christian then and I am not now. But that palpable grief, the intimacy of tragedy in that stone, brought tears to my eyes. It still does.

A more religious child might have been converted by that experience. Me, I awakened to the essential power of art.

I am in my 50s now. I am tired.

I will never again get a spontaneous standing ovation from the boys when I rerack the weights after a set of squats. I am professional in my working life, but no longer a zealot. Love is an illusion I delight in all the more because I'm sure it makes faces at me behind my back. I do political work occasionally, but just tell me when and where to show up: no meetings, no processing, no angst. I am a Buddhist because it is the only nonridiculous path for a practical mystic. I don't even go to the pride parade any more: I'm here, I'm queer, so what.

Yes, I'm a bitter old hag.

But one thing has not changed.

I walk into the back room of the gallery and I see... it. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I forget to breathe.

Some kid steps up to the open mike. She recites a poem about a ticket stub; I remember what it feels like to fly, stretching to catch an updraft.

In the recesses of the last cello note of the last quartet, I smell rain on pavement at the end of a long dry summer.

It can happen even when I walk the dog. I look up at the old brick wall Maggie and I pass every day and I see the brilliant blue spray paint a stealthy kid slashed across it. Still wet. I tumble into the delirious first night I spent with my lover of many years.

It happens and happens. It is always the same and always new. I'm the girl in tears in a church in Italy with no words for what I feel.

I am no age here. I am not even Lydia Swartz. I am awash in that luminosity I sometimes glimpse after an hour in the zendo. I am in my lover's embrace. I watch somebody I love take his last labored breaths.

I can change my name. The bell always rings. Lovers leave. I'll never hear my dad's voice again.

Art lives. It makes me human. More, it reassures me that human is just the beginning.

I like the idea. A lot. And I was thinking about jotting something down, until I was derailed by family stuff. Maybe though, it's not really a derailment. What I'm going through will just add to what I believe. The more I experience, the richer and more comprehensive (as if I can grab the whole of life) my explanation is.

One of the books I'm reading now is The Fifth Book of Peace by Maxine Hong Kingston.
From the back: A long time ago in China, there existed three Books of Peace that proved so threatening to the reigning powers that they had them burned. Many years later Maxine Hong Kingston wrote a fourth Book of Peace, but it too was burned – in the catastrophic Oakland-Berkeley Hills fire of 1991, a fire that coincided with the death of her father. Now in this visionary work, Kingston completes her interrupted labor, weaving fiction and memoir into a luminous meditation on war and peace, devastation and renewal.

The book came to mind because there was a line I read a couple days ago. After the fire, the author is collecting her thoughts and gathering ideads to begin rewriting the book. A friend said to her "...I think that if you're going to write the Book of Peace, you have to have lost absolutely everything."

There is so much truth in that statement.

I think of the story of the blind men and the elephant. Each wanted to understand what god was.

"Four blind men went to the zoo and visited the elephant. One blind man touched its side and said, 'The elephant is like a wall.' The next blind man touched its trunk and said, 'The elephant is like a snake.' The next blind man touched its leg and said, 'The elephant is like a column.' The last blind man touched its tail and said, 'The elephant is like a broom.' Then the four blind men started to fight, each one believing that his opinion was the right one. Each only understood the part he had touched; none of them understood the whole."

This I believe.

Imagine how it would change and morph if we sat down every few years and dashed off 500 words on what we believed. Journals have a similar effect. But to have the ideas contained in an efficient format for ease of comparision, year after year...nice idea, eh?

Once in a while, in an informal fashion, I attempt to write what I believe. What comes up are my internal censors manifested in the increased slowing of my pen on paper which culminates in dropping my instrument with a deep sigh.

You read snippets of my beliefs here. Some come out quite strong and very opinionated. But it is only one side. One small aspect of who I am. Much of what I believe remains within. Having known a sense of isolation most of my life, my fear is that when my words reflect my heart and my mind, I shall be shunned for eternity.

The fear is so vast that even in the most private of places, alone in my room with paper that burns quickly, I cannot remove the words from my body. They stay locked within.

What do I believe?

I believe I fear. I believe I fear myself and all the potential of life. I believe I will not eat from the shining tree with the golden fruit. The fruit my teeth surround and my mouth engulfs. The fruit that slides down my throat and glows as it makes its way through my body. I believe that the fruit is fantasy and I only taste in my dreams.

This I believe.
I need to learn how to post images. I'm sure it's not difficult. But I've been procrastinating because in the last 8 months, there have been so many changes in how to do my job, with an 'enhanced' database (bah, humbug), new POS system for credit card gifts, new online giving system, figuring out a new system to handle workplace giving campaigns, new way to track donor advised giving and on and on. I've never seen so many changes in such a short period of time. While trying to figure one out and become comfortable, another new change would arise. And in the throes of all this...the regular work still needs to be done...and let's juggle a highly successful spring phone campaign.

Well I would be bored otherwise. :-)
And...I do thrive on challenges.

But what this has done is, even though a new computer change may be simple, right now, regarding computer stuff, if it's not a priority, I just don't have the capacity for anything new.

So I figure that while I'm on vacation, I'll be in a better space to learn. I have a couple domains. And web hosting. I just need calm mental time to learn and decipher all this stuff.

While typing I glanced out the window. The moon just rose up through the horizontal slats of my blinds. It's huge and appears to be full. Gorgeous.

A half hour ago I went to sit outside in my courtyard. The small lights around the goldfish pond came on. One of my neighbors came out and sat with me. Another came in, saw us...ran upstairs to get his pipe, and returned to join us. I love the smell of a pipe. My dad used to always smoke one while I was growing up. The three of us sat and talked...listening to the water and enjoying the air. Nice summer evening.

With all this family stuff going on, there is one thing that hasn't gone away. The aching desire to be held. It will appear to disappear while I'm mentally engaged. As soon as I slow comes back. What is odd is I'm experiencing something I never have before. I literally feel it in my shoulders and upper arms. It's a big sense of vacancy. Strange.

My shrink has been amazing. Although away, we've been in contact every day by email. He's also available by phone if I choose. But normally, if something comes up, I'll dash off a note. A few times I've included a disclaimer that he doesn't need to reply. Yet he has.
I feel quite fortunate to have found him.

This weekend is Pride weekend. It's a two day festival with the parade on Sunday. My apartment is about 4 blocks from Volunteer Park, where the festivities are held. This will be the first year I won't have to deal with parking issues. Saturday I am helping a friend move, and won't be at our booth. But on Sunday, I'll walk with the leather contingency...and then spend the afternoon with the crew from work, manning the booth.

And now...I'll kick back with a little tv and then bed.

Night all...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Paintings by chimpanzee outsell Warhol

(image of painting)

The Associated Press
LONDON -- Monkey business proved to be lucrative Monday when paintings by Congo the chimpanzee sold at auction for more than $25,000.

The three abstract, tempera paintings were auctioned at Bonhams in London alongside works by impressionist master Renoir and pop art provocateur Andy Warhol.

But while Warhol's and Renoir's work didn't sell, bidders lavished attention on Congo's paintings.

An American bidder named Howard Hong, who described himself as an "enthusiast of modern and contemporary painting," purchased the lot of paintings for $26,352, including a buyer's premium.

The sale price surpassed predictions that priced the paintings between $1,000-$1,500.

"We had no idea what these things were worth," said Howard Rutkowski, director of modern and contemporary art at Bonhams. "We just put them in for our own amusement."

Congo, born in 1954, produced about 400 drawings and paintings between ages 2 and 4. He died in 1964 of tuberculosis.

His artwork provoked reactions ranging from scorn to skepticism among critics of the time, but Pablo Picasso is reported to have hung a Congo painting on his studio wall after receiving it as a gift.

"There's no precedent for things like this having been sold before," Rutkowski said.
This morning I woke with art behind my eyes.

I was constructing my paintings. The self portraits I've conceived are composites. I watched myself piecing and painting. Canvas after canvas.

In a flash I stepped away from the easel and to the floor.
I had begun another work. Another painting, although not with oils.
Many little pieces of paper. A Chuck Close image.
My face a tapestry of mosaics made up from the sex of the men I love.

My family.

This morning I knew, as of right now, that when my blood family contacts me again, I need to temporarily distance myself.
"Mom, Dad, it really hurts to spend time with you, be it email, phone or visits. It has always hurt...yet now the pain had increased a hundredfold. I need space and time to work this through."

I'll continue with, "Mom, Dad...I love you so much. If I didn't, it wouldn't be so painful."

This isn't permanent. Nothing is permanent. Nothing is forever.
And yes...nothing IS forever.
It's strange.

This weekend, I've had some fantabulously planned as well as spontaneous social moments with people I love and who love me. It's good. I can immerse myself in the energy. Then, when I come home...the hurt starts to creep in again and overtake me.

Want to know what is really odd about this experience? This pain is similar to breakup hurts. You know how your heart feels in those times? That's what it's like.

Getting over this family stuff is bizarre.

The only decision I've made, regarding my family, is to continue moving ahead. I have no idea what the relationship will look like. I'm not predetermining anything. All I know is that with the awareness from this week, our connection has changed.

And right now it hurts.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

What an amazing day.

I met Auxugen at the theater and we enjoyed an intense and brilliant 2 hours with Mysterious Skin. As I was telling Qnetter at dinner later, I left the theater feeling unglued that I wasn't unglued during the sex scenes. They walked the line and would flip between consensual and nonconsensual. So I'd go from getting hot and hard, to somewhat uncomfortable, yet never shocked. There were a few scenes of incredible tenderness that brought tears to my eyes. Powerful film. Provocative. Challenging.

Anyone who has the opportunity to see, don't walk to the theater. In Seattle, it's currently playing at the Harvard Exit. Go see Mysterious Skin.

We left the theater and walked down to Cafe Septieme. I knew that we'd be meeting Tag, Hoss, his boy, Qnetter and his partner in about an hour and a half. Auxugen and I brought stuff to keep ourselves occupied, and it gave us the chance to wind down after the film. It was a good thing because the film left me feeling buzzed, as if I'd had a couple glasses of wine on an empty stomach.

After a bit, he and I moved to a larger table that our waiters had set aside for us. In a few minutes everyone piled in.

It was a good time. Lots of love, lots of laughter and good food. I saw the remnants of what must have been a hot singletail scene. Still thinking about those marks...I covet them. :-)
Conversation covered just about everything, with much perversity thrown in as a spice. We were there 4 1/2 hours! Time flies.

A few men I knew were walking by and stepped in to say hi and greet everyone. At the same time, Sir was walking by and he came in and spent the rest of the evening at the table.

Boisterous, jovial...and did I say sexy?
I spent a good part of the evening hard and wet.

I love you guys. Thank you for a wonderful evening.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I'm on a movie roll. And it's the beginning of Pride week. Although at times I'm not crazy about being a professional queer, I love Pride week.

Yesterday afternoon, I made the impromptu decision to check out a matinee at the Harvard Exit Theatre. Have I said how much I love being within walking distance of about 5 indie film theaters? It's been a long time since I've walked into a mainstream theater. Most of the movies shown can wait until they come out on dvd. And I detest the previews in those places. Whereas, I could spend a great afternoon just watching previews in the smaller moviehouses. Now it is fun to get together with friends once in a while and hit one of those big name movies. Every once in a while there is something I really want to see and experience on the large screen.

Anyway, at the last minute I called Icarus who agreed to join me. We went to see Saving Face. Although billed as a romantic comedy, this wasn't the mindless fluff (which is needed at times) I've come to associate with the genre. There were nice twists to the plot. It was a fascinating study in how most of us live in a right or wrong world filled with black and white. It portrayed the power we give tradition because of fear. Icarus and I both enjoyed it quite a bit. From there, we got together for a long overdue dinner and talk. It was a good evening.

This afternoon...I've decided to hit another matinee. So much for the nesting I thought I'd do today. Mysterious Skin. Yesterday it was about 2 girls. Today, about 2 boys. Auxugen is going to meet me at the theater. Afterward, I'll spend an hour or two at Septieme, with my laptop and book relaxing, only to be joined later by a bunch of friends. sounds like a perfect way to spend a Saturday.

It's Pride! The flags and banners are up...on Broadway, all the bars and many apartments and homes. All the small theaters on Capitol Hill are showing queer or queertype films. And it's not even queer film fest time. That happens in October. It is nice to have moments where you don't feel like a minority. My calendar is full for next week, including some time with AE who is coming off the Mountain back east for a quick Seattle stint. I'll pick him up at the airport on Wednesday. It will be so good to see him! I missed that boy.
What I am learning.

To be.
Our world is an "and" world. This and that, not this or that.
Pain isn't something to run from, numb, or stifle.
Pick up my foot and take the next step.
Feelings are only feelings.
The more I know the less I know.
Be kind to my self
Words are pretty much useless in understanding.
Silence is not quiet
Nothing is not empty.

Why am I thinking of this?

Here I am. Feeling the effects of a personal bomb. My shrink is gone again for one more week.
My heart hurts.
I grieve.
I'm excited.
I love.
I see.
And...I crave to be held.
My arms feel the coolness from lack of containment.
I can't explain it.

But I'm not fighting. There is nothing to fight.
I'm not depressed.
I am loved.
I think I am missed.
My childhood fantasies are crumbling.
It is sad.
I feel betrayed.
And cry for those who know not how to love.

It is all perfect.
Even the pain.


It is dawn.

Friday, June 17, 2005

I want to spend the weekend like this. Just catherize me and feed me liquids through a straw.
It looks like I will continue working out this family stuff here. I'm warning you...I'm not going to censor some bad feelings. If it begins to sounds like a pity party be it. We all need that periodically. When I feel it coming on I do set boundaries and time limits...but I allow myself to go through it. It's important and lets me get to the other side. What is odd is I'll be doing it in this blog. Normally those little parties are kept for my own home. Alone. But, who among my readers aren't dealing with feeling accepted by your families? This isn't an intention to be altruistic and overly sharing. Yet it feels right.

Read or don't read. I don't care.

This is gay pride month. It doesn't surprise me that I'm coming to a head with my family stuff now.

Surprisingly, I've been sleeping well since all this arose. That is, until last night. I'm exhausted from a night of tossing and turning. It's my day off and I'm at work because I thought I was going to attend to a few items that I can no longer remember what they are.

Love is a big thing isn't it?

Hoss wrote to me in regards to his parents...
"They say they love me. They think they do. But they don't know how."
That's fucking powerful. And true for me as well. I know my parents love me. Yet, they are tearing me up inside. At some point during the night I realized they have no idea what they're doing. By choosing to not see me, they are hurting me. How would they deal with that fact if they knew?

I was checking out an LJ that I look at periodically and this morning found an image that depicts my family perfectly. My family portrait.

My favorite contingency during the gay pride parades are the PFLAG groups. For over 20 years I've cried every time I see "I love my gay kid" on signs and t-shirts carried and worn by parents. I wished and hoped beyond hope that mom and day could do that.

If I had come out as a young teen, I wonder if I'd be dealing with what this poor kid is going through. Now his situation is brutal. I'm fortunate compared to him.

Last night I remembered my first painting mentor. This older artist who took me under his wing when I was 28 or so. He opened up his home and taught me some valuable lessons about painting, opening myself up and letting go. He had two daughters who were younger than me. They are both working artists. Successful in the sense that they are at it fulltime...without the baggage I carry. I'd listen to his stories of how he supported his kids from the get go with their art. I told him once, "I wish you had been my dad."

First my art...and then my sex. When my family can't support that, what's left of me that's worth supporting other than crumbs?
Yes, the first question in my head was "Would your parents still love you if you weren't their child?"

The question I actually asked the shrink a few minutes later was "would my parents still love me if I weren't their child?"

It's more real.

Why did that come up?

I had emailed my mom on Tuesday morning. After the niceties...the polite but caring stuff, I started a small ramble. I could imagine her and I sitting across the table over early morning coffee. I wanted the connection. No...I wanted the intimacy (although I didn't fully know that at the time). I wanted to be able to share what was in my heart with her, and have her accept it. Accept me.

I wrote, oh so casually about gay pride month. I shared my experience with my very first Pride day...and the joy I felt. I then lamented the fact of how much hate and intolerance there is in our world. I wrote, hoping to connect with her in some way...using her Christ. "Christ was all about compassion". And I jumped into my fantasy of how I wish everyone would busy themselves with building and creating, instead of destroying someone else. I used her and my dad as an example of how they work to assist others...and the love they show.

Mom responded. She agreed. And she ended the email with "I love you and hope you keep doing good."
But in the middle of this letter...she said, yes it was about forgiveness and love. And then she said.."to hate the sin but love the sinner."

The only other time she used that phrase was in regards to murderers and criminals. And a conversation about queers, she used it again.

Yes, she loves me and hates my life.

How can that be? Is that really love? Many Christians toss that phrase around as if it's nothing and godly all at the same time.

Somehow I knew in that moment if she had to choose between god and her child, she'd choose her god. Apparently homosexuals are sinful.

I realized yesterday that my little post on intimacy came up about the same time as my email to my mother. Today I checked the times. My email to mom went out about 15 minutes before I wrote the piece on intimacy.

On Tuesday I wrote her. I read her reply on Wednesday, before my session. The session where I uttered the question. I went from that appointment right into a staff meeting at work. They were still in the middle of personal check-ins and so I used my time to ask the question.

Later that afternoon, one of our regional staffmembers called me and said that he had discussed that question with a PFLAG person. He thanked me for bringing it up.

It's a tough one. I know the real question is "can my parents love me for the person I am? The whole person? Or are they just in love with the parent/child bond...the idea of a child? The idea of family?"

I also know that maybe it's not fair to ask the question in this context. Maybe parent/child stuff is never meant to be regular person to person love.

I'm in the place where I'm finally cutting the emotional/psychological/spiritual umbilical cord between my parents and I. And I'm grieving. I have to let go of the fairy tale that says we are going to be the Waltons. You know. The family that supports John boy's writings and Mary Ellen's desire to be a nurse. The family that will love each other in a manner that includes full support and seeing the individual in each.

I am at a crossroads. In my words: either I cut off full ties with my family because I'm not the cocktail party superficial chitchat person. It's hard for me to have some type of love relationship with someone unless we can support each other. That person has to feel comfortable enough to share themselves. And I with them.

I try. And I try. And I've discovered over and over that unfortunately my folks are not comfortable talking about my life. One year, all I wanted for my birthday was for them to take the money they'd spend on my birthday gift and instead, donate it to the foundation I work for. They couldn't do it.

All they can see is 25 percent of who I am. They have to shield their eyes from the remainder. I am invisible to them.

So it seems reasonable that I sever ties.

The other road involves compassion on my part. To learn to forgive them and love them with no attachments or expectations. Just the idea makes me cringe. And, the fact that it creates that reaction in me makes me sad. You see, I'm the type of person where, even when I've been brutally betrayed...I've found forgiveness. I've been able to let go. And in that I could love them as they are.

Yet, I am finally seeing the witholding of my parents as the greatest betrayal thus far. It feels much too large to let go of in a kind manner.

Taking a deep breath...

My shrink said he saw I had two choices as well. But his were somewhat different than mine. The shrink explained that I could either be real or not be real.

It's a much more powerful juncture, isn't it?

Be real or not be real.

So...this is a huge mishmash of thoughts and feelings I've been dealing with. Don't be surprised if you see more in fits and spurts. I had to dump this out so there would be room for more clarity. There isn't a right or a wrong in this mess.

It simply is. It is what it is.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A question-

Would your parents still love you if you weren't their child?

Yeah...that's the question that popped into my head this morning, while in the shrink's office.
I'm not done with this one...but it'll have to wait.
I can't think anymore about the crap that's happening 'out there'. It's so big, and if I immerse myself in it, I'm dragged down. about art?
I also know that I can make my mark, in a spiritual, sexual and political way through my art.

I don't think I've updated you on what's happening. Last week I stopped at one of my favorite art stores and picked up 3 canvases. Personally, I much prefer to stretch my own. There's a nice ritual to doing it all myself. But when I know I only have a couple weeks to paint...and no real time now...I'd rather spend it painting instead of taking time to stretch canvas. Although once I get rockin' and rollin', I will have the time to stretch some at that point. I have canvas and just need to pick up the frames. For now, these little ones will get me started.

On top of it....I have a new series in my head. Other than one time, it's never happened before a painting stint. Normally I'm stuck and so I'll spend time copying old masters' work which in turn will generate ideas.

It's a self-portrait series, yet combined with a series currently in process. I'm very excited about it. Very. The idea hit me hard, on Saturday, during the photo shoot.

I'm really trying hard not to beat myself up for not jumping into painting sooner. When I look back over the last year, I see slow, steady progress. I don't think I'll be able to do the open workshops. It's a financial thing. My car needs work. Desperately. But I'm still going to look into the once a week open studios.

Oh yeah, I pulled my big jar of brushes out of the closet. Every time I walk into my apartment...there they are. Looking at me. Welcoming me in the way that lovers do.

See? Little steps.
How about this week's Freewill Astrology?

And of course, Mark Morford. In Another Hard, Hot Pink Shave, he begins with:

"It's long, it's smooth, it's gently, undulatingly curvy. It's hot pink, with a large, rounded tip, perfect for gripping and perfect for sending soft sensual signals up your leg and down your vertebrae as you stroke, up and down, down and up, slowly, carefully, lovingly.

You can use it in the shower. You can use it in the bathtub. You can use it on your armpits, though they don't talk much about that in the marketing copy because it's not very sexy and most people don't masturbate anywhere near their armpits, so far as you know."

Today he writes about razors. Gillette's new razors, battery-powered, plastic, vibrating razors for men and women. How much more ridiculous can corporate America get? And...we know it's all about sex, yet I understand that our gov't/corporations only allow sex if it's on their terms which means the bucks end up in their pockets. Otherwise they need to pass ridiculous regulations such as the recent changes to 18 U.S.C 2257. Here is the notice from Free Speech Coalition. And, here is where you can read the damned thing in laymen's terms.

A smile and a nod to djartemis from Two Big Meanies for the links. I've been sitting on all this for a while now, and was too pissed off to even hand out links.

About a month ago, I bumped into James from Nawashibari at Cafe Septieme. I joined him and he proceeded to tell me about the changes that, at the time, had not yet passed. He was concerned. Understandably so. I told him that in this day and age, he was doing a very courageous thing by keeping his site going. Yet, I realize why people wouldn't. Personally, I don't think I'd want to jump through all the required hoops. I'd find another way to fight.

If you'd like to read more on the topic, thanks to metkat, here is an interesting article, The Lie That is 2257? And The Solution - by Mark Kernes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Something's been happening.

I think this therapy stuff is sneaking up on me. In a good way. For a couple weeks before the shrink went away, I was discovering my core of strength. With his guidance, I tapped into its source. The trick, for me (your mileage may differ), was silence. Being quiet. This week I told the shrink that I didn't like using the word "meditation". Meditation brings up a prefabrication of what it should look like, be like and feel like. It's a loaded word. Whereas, being silent, carries a freedom with it. I can't do it wrong.

In those two weeks of sharing silence with someone else, which I discovered to be very different than doing it alone, words didn't bother me in the same way. They had lost their power to provoke, goad, and slice me to bits. Somehow, I knew I was stronger than words and labels. I understood deep in my soul that whatever anyone else said, regardless of what they thought, they weren't talking about me. They may think they are..but I wasn't giving it to them. Not physically and not emotionally.

I carried the calm that I'd been so afraid of. There was so much fear in that calm that I'd just about belittle the shrink for it.

Well the shrink went away for two weeks.

I felt this thin...very fragile string within me, but it wasn't close enough to the surface. And therefore, everwhere I turned I was wounded. You know those crank up toys that you let loose in a small box? They walk two steps and hit a corner, to turn and hit the wall, and on it goes. That was me.

The shrink returned last week.

I was so proud of myself for all I had learned. These great insights - the vast knowledge of what I still needed to know and live.
And anger.

Fury that I currently needed another person to help dip into the well where I find my strength.

I was angry, embarrassed and ashamed. This is me we are talking about. I'm so fuckin' wise. And yet I saw how I can't do it on my own. No matter how much I intellectually know, I can't do it alone.

Ego is a beaut, isn't it?

Those times of silence are so intimate. Since the shrink has returned, I've yet to share that again with him. You know, first you need to transition back, and then you deal with the stuff that happened in the break, and think you settle into the silence, but you fight it each step of the way.
Yeah...those 'you's I've written are really 'me's.

I don't want to give it to him. In reality, I don't want to give it to me.

I miss the intimacy and am fearful of it. The risk is so very great. When I partake I hunger for more. Never satiated.

I hunger because I'm afraid I will never be full. I'm afraid that the joyous parts of life are all a tease. Puppet moments dangled from the hands of a sadistic creator. I fear I will never have the opportunity to immerse myself.


Because I fear abandonment. It's so typical it's boring. But that's what she wrote.

So, big, bad me is struggling with delving into a deeper intimacy. Why does it feel like one step forward, two steps back?

Yet, I have to believe that in reality, that's not the case. With all my floundering and fears...I feel something new inside. There is a seed of sureness that wasn't there before. When I stop, close my eyes and look inside...I can feel it. If I stay still, I watch it permeate my being.

And then, two seconds later I feel I know nothing. Am nothing.

Is that life?

Methinks so.
Silly sheep game.

It's quick, easy, and a short time-waster.
Want to know what's in my head today?

Intimacy is a funny thing.


Connection with risk.
Intimacy is the synergistic byproduct.

The more I explore intimacy the more I see it can't happen without the smell of danger.

Each time I think I've achieved intimacy, my eyes fall upon the next step...a deeper pond to sink into. It seems that intimacy is not something to be achieved yet an ongoing experience. I'll never capture or attain the whole of intimacy. But if I can maintain my courage, maybe I can continue to be caressed by intimacy in all its unfolding and surprising facets.

This isn't easy.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Okay... dsl seems to be working and I'm not quite as tired as yesterday.

Regarding Saturday's movie attempt, we managed to get tickets. Because it was the last week of the festival I was afraid that we'd be outta luck. I believe that the very heavy downpour helped. The skies just opened up as Auxugen and I were ready to walk down to the theater. We each grabbed an umbrella and maneuvered through the puddles.

With tickets in hand, it was a half hour wait in the pouring rain. It was actually fun.

About A Year Without Love -

warning: some spoilers


I'm not quite sure what to make of the film.

How about if I list it out?
Some of what he'd encounter or did had me chuckling.
Some of it was so typical for those of us new to s/m - seeking master or slave (when you really don't know what each is)...

...or especially when Pablo was naked, kneeling in the corner waiting for the top, and after a few minutes of settling into position, he jumped up to change the music, so then return to the corner. Atmosphere is important... LOL.

I totally cracked up over that particular top (can't remember his name right now...Manuel?) living with his parents. It was a perfect example of when fantasy and real world collides. Which happens. So damned often.

The seeking, the hunger and the loneliness were too familiar. The darkness surrounding all of it was as well.

The dungeon stuff was hot. A few scenes definitely aroused me, in that s/m kinda way. The ambiguity of it. Hearing the sounds and catching glimpses. Hot, hot, hot. For me anyway.

I felt it was hard to follow at times. More like vignettes instead of a smooth flowing flick. Not a criticism, but it seems like because of the general air of the added to my sense of unsettledness.

But what is disturbing, is the emptiness and desolation I feel he felt. He wasn't someone who sat on his butt and complained. He sought. He went after. He took chances. And, he seemed to keep coming up empty-handed or with morsels. It's definitely not an upbeat time. And, it smacked of reality.

Am I projecting? Very likely.

Within all this, there is a haunting beauty.

I would see the film again.
I want to feel comfortable with my discomfort.
The New Blacklist - by Doug Ireland

Corporate America is bowing to anti-gay Christian groups' boycott demands.

"Spurred on by a biblical injunction evangelicals call "The Great Commission," and emboldened by George W. Bush's re-election, which is perceived as a "mandate from God," the Christian right has launched a series of boycotts and pressure campaigns aimed at corporate America - and at its sponsorship of entertainment, programs and activities the Christers don't like."...

...Says Berlet, "The re-election of Bush was a sort of tipping point for these people, who take it as a mandate from God - they see that the leadership of America is within their grasp, and when you get closer to your goal, it's very energizing. It reaches a critical mass, in which the evangelicals feel they have permission to push their way into public and cultural policy in every walk and expression of life." All that, says Berlet, is what is motivating the skein of Christer boycotts, protest campaigns and censorship drives bubbling from the bottom up - which get added emotional and pressure power from the fund-raising-driven crusades launched by political Christer organizations like AFA at the national level. The confluence of from-above and from-below is a powerful mix.

There's one big problem: Nobody at the national level is tracking these Christer censorship and pressure campaigns in a systematic way, to quantify them or assess their impact, so that strategies to defeat them can be developed. "People for the American Way used to track this stuff, but they stopped doing so systematically in 1996. We at Political Research Associates would love to do it," says Berlet, "but we don't have the resources. Groups like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute or Americans United for Separation of Church and State could easily do this sort of work. But none of us has the money to do it, because nobody wants to give it. There used to be three major journalists writing about this stuff - Sara Diamond, Russ Belant and Fred Clarkson. But none of them could make a living doing it, and they've all dropped out of the game."

Unless Hollywood, and the entertainment and broadcast industries, all want to live through an epoch of increasing content blackmail and blacklists, the wealthy folks who make a lot of money from those industries better wake up and start funding intensive and systematic research on the Christian right and its censorship crusades against sexual subversion and sin in the creative arts - or soon it will be too late, and the "theocratic oligopoly" of which Martin Kaplan speaks will be so firmly established it cannot be dislodged.

Read the whole article.
"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from
religious conviction."
- Blaise Pascal, philosopher and mathematician (1623-1662)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

I know, I know...

...when I spend a full day socializing, it's gonna kick my ass the next day.
Yeah, the pattern should be branded on my thigh.

Other than a few hours to take Sir out for an errand, I've been crapped out in my big brown leather comfy chair, not only emotionally exhausted but physically as well. It was just as well that my dsl was down most of the day. While up, I couldn't focus. Everything I read was a blur.

I think it's critical to dole out my energy with more care. But on the other hand, I'm not like that. I like being impulsive and grabbing at what happens in the moment. Even if it means I'm no good the next day.

What happened to those days of boundless energy, where it didn't matter how many folks I hung out with and listened to?

I hate this.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


I've discovered the trick for shaking off the fog from a marathon video viewing. I walked into the photo shoot this morning to check in with Tattoo'd Bear and P., one of his coworkers. They kindly agreed to be two of the models. P. had brought his chaps and was in the process of putting them on. One leg zipped, he was struggling with the other. He asked me to help. I got on my knees in front of him, and said..."you're okay with this?" (I always check in with someone new...seeing I don't have a cock of my own.) He laughed. "I've seen you play at the Eagle. It's cool."

My hands went to the top of his thigh and I grabbed the zipper of his chaps. Leaning in to take a better look, his cock was a few inches away from my face. I admired his bulge. The scent of his dick came through the denim and I inhaled deeply. If we were somewhere else...those jeans would have been unzipped and my mouth would be full. Instead, after struggling a little, due to...ummm...shifted focus, I did get the leg zipped. It put me in a good frame of mind.

After their shoot, I walked down to Septieme's for something to eat and then returned an hour later for my appointment at the shoot. Model release signed, the makeup artist touched up the dark circles that arose from 2 late nights of video watching. Then my turn.

Have I mentioned that I'm uncomfortable in front of a camera? I love my mouth. But I'm self conscious of my smile and laugh. It feels like I'm all gums. The photographer was great and put everyone at ease. They threw me in with a dyke, and then called one of my female coworkers up and the three of us moved, flirted and were shot.

From there...the photographer and art director wanted photos of just me. I was curious...and flattered. Full length and some closeups.

Right after that, it was Sir's turn, one of his boys, and another leatherman, a former Mr. Ebony Leather, who I briefly met last year. They had fun and did a nice job. The electricity in the room began to rise. Everyone was feeling it. The art director then asked me to get in with that group...and the temp rose higher. Sir had his hand on the back of my head, his fingers tangled in my hair, pulling. My ass was pushed into and grinding the leatherman's crotch. And the boy was beside me, tangled in with us. At one point the man began slapping my ass. Yeah, I was turned on and had to work hard to keep my hard on and not go over the edge. We were all doing light play and flirting, trying to consciously maintain a somewhat G-rated atmosphere while allowing and playing with the sexual energy that arose.

I know many of those shots cannot get used but it was seriously fun and wickedly sexy.

And where am I headed now?

I'm going to try to catch another Seattle International Film Festival film with Auxugen. According to the SIFF website, A Year Without Love is "An audacious film that dares to place its HIV+ protagonist in the S&M leather scene of Buenos Aires. In defiance of his deteriorating health, he continues to cruise the city where his encounters reveal an ambitious, gifted man forced to come to terms with his mortality."

We don't have advanced tickets for this one and so will try to purchase some at the theater. Hopefully we can get in.
Huberds Shoe Grease.

It looks like our fears of a disappearing Huberds have been alleviated. It's still available. The company has moved from Oregon to Arizona.

Check out their webpage.

I love this stuff.
When I said slut...this is not what I intended -

Don't do this.

You know those 5 discs of Six Feet Under? My plan was to watch it between Thursday night and Sunday. It's a lot for me, but very doable.

Well...that's not how it happened.

At 1 am this morning, I finished the last episode of season 3. I've never sat and watched so much in my life. And with this particular's way too way too much. Upon waking, I still feel the fog that's settled from the show's energy.

What got into me? I don't know. For some reason, by early yesterday evening, I decided to just do it all.
Now I have that overeaten feeling. I didn't know when to get up from the table. Crazy.
And that was all interspersed with a morning trip to the Apple store, then the art store. From there a lunch with my coworkers, and then a SIFF film. Walking all over the Hill.

Like I said. Crazy, man. Crazy.

I'll shake off the cloud today. There's some work stuff I'm involved in. We have a day long photo shoot set up at the queer community center with willing donors, volunteers, scholarship recipients and other interested parties. This will provide us with diversified stock images reflecting many aspects of queerness for future ads, etc. So I'm popping in about 11 for a bit, and then again a few hours later.

It will feel good to get my undeath bearings back.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Six Feet Under slut.

Okay...season 3 of Six Feet Under has picked up with the 2nd disc. More substance. I had forgotten how much I enjoy this show. So much so that it's the only set of dvd's thus far, I become totally engrossed in. When I rent them, it's too easy to forget everything else. All I want to do is watch them all...until done.

This time it is worse. You see, a friend has netflix and had all 5 discs from season 3. He handed them to me yesterday. I want to watch them quickly, so I can pop 'em back in the mail. I don't want to delay his dvd renting too much. On top of it, I just eat these up anyway. So call me engrossed for the next few between the busyness that is my life.
Okay. I created a quick yahoo email and switched it with the one that wasn't working. So we're back in business...

...and now back to Season 3, disc 2 of Six Feet Under. Is it only me or is the 3rd season mellower...more laid back, lacking...something? I completed the first disc and am intrigued to see it picks up somehow. Thing is, it's curiously unsettling and familiar. Almost as if I'm watching, well, real life. I mean, we don't live with fireworks all the time. But it's a tv show, dammit.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The email I use for my blog is down. It's been down since sometime this afternoon. So if anyone's tried to email me...and it bounced patient. I'll figure something out.
Busy day.

Again, in at 6 am and today I jumped right into the fire. Not allowing for outside distractions that is, except for this quick entry, I threw on my headphones and have the music cranked.

Today's selections:

Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left
Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams
Rachel's Music For Egon Schiele
Sting – The Dream Of The Blue Turtles
Alice in Chains – Unplugged
Leonard Cohen - Ten New Songs

and...a work in progress. These are the tracks laid down for my coworker's 2nd cd. He spent Monday and Tuesday in the studio recording his vocals and guitar. It's the first layer.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

This week's Freewill Astrology.

"Artist Max Ernst (1891-1976) specialized in using creative techniques that relied on the element of chance. He was a master of collage, assembling materials he got from newspapers, botanical drawings, catalogs, and scientific journals. He also liked to run a paintbrush over a piece of a canvas that was lying on a rough wooden floor, thereby making an impression of the underlying texture. This random approach drove some critics crazy, since it undermined the idea that worthwhile art can only be made by trained experts. Ernst seemed to imply that anyone could fabricate interesting stuff. He's your role model right now, Capricorn. Let him inspire you to shed any beliefs you might have that you're not creative. Capitalize on the element of chance to bring novelty into everything you do. Be alert for lucky accidents that you could take advantage of in order to freshen up everyone's perspective."

Read yours.

And today, in Hideously Skinny White Girls Morford writes about the latest trend to hit teenage girls. Ana. Internet clubs popping up all centered around anorexia.

Thing is, he goes on to say:
"What a miserable and ludicrous spectacle. And what sort of shame should we feel, ostensibly the world's most independent, free-thinking society (I know, I know), and still we can't come anywhere close to teaching women, young girls, about the true power of their bodies, their individual spirits, a sense of self-esteem and identity exclusive of that provided by media and peer pressure. Still we can't shift our perceptions of the flesh, of identity, to a healthier, more open, more grounded place devoid of shame and fear and disgust. What a thing."

I don't disagree. But once again, and please note that I have no tolerance for it in most contexts, the problems of females are separated and highlighted from the problems of males. And in this, it continues to divide. Boys are having just as difficult a time.

That sentence would be more powerful in so many ways if it pulled gender out and related to teens in general. I understand he is highlighting a specific symptom, but why focus the article on one gender, especially when he bemoans the fact that "we can't shift our perceptions of the flesh, of identity, to a healthier, more open, more grounded place...?" In the very act of separating, and looking at outward manifestation instead of a basic problem, isn't he doing the same thing? That paragraph is applicable to all.

I believe that the core issue is identical because it's part of the human condition. Regardless of gender, we all are broken. Abused in some manner and to various degrees. We all seek connection and belonging. We all angst over self esteem. Because of societal roles, it may manifest itself in a different fashion but why oh why can't cut right to the root and deal with that as the human animal we all are?

Growing up is very hard to do. Parents, no matter how loving, by the mere fact of being fallible will make mistakes. It's part of life.

Children - male, female and other, all need to be held, supported, loved and engaged. Their imagination and spirits need to be nurtured.

I acknowledge there are physical differences, due to chemistry, hormones, etc. But the similarities are greater. The sad part is we've fooled ourselves into believing otherwise. As long as we continue to divide and segregate, all we are doing is slapping bandaids on open, oozing wounds. Spiritual evolution requires we get to the heart of the matter.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

It's been a difficult and very insightful two weeks. I haven't shared it with anyone, not even friends. That is, except for the snippet I revealed while on the phone with Auxugen the other day.
Some things are too painful to speak about.

The shrink's been gone for this time. There hasn't been any anxiety from the break. Instead, I was curious and wondered how things would go. What would reveal itself?

I have discovered that there's been a lot of growth coming from the work I've been doing. And, although I know it's not true, it feels like the cosmos has conspired to hit me with everything all at once. Beginning right after his departure, the handful of things that wound the deepest have sprung up from the corners and attacked. I had moments where I sunk back into the despair, wailed, and raised my fist toward heaven for concocting the idea of my birth.

A little while back, Kiltbear wrote something that struck home. I realized, it was this very thing that motivated me into therapy. This was the underlying problem.

He wrote:
"I like the fetish communities (and I include the bear community in this) on a really selfish level because they make it so much easier to get the external validation I crave. Grow a beard, have a tummy, and if you are not an asshole, you are pretty well in on the bear community. Wear the right gear, cop the right attitude (read this as having the right drag and persona turned on) and you can get along in the kink community pretty well.

This validation is the main perq of the fetish communities for me. It feels good to be appreciated. Unfortunately, it really seems to really help avoid the work at hand: loving one's self enough not too care what other think of you, or more directly put, allowing external input to be the main source of my own self worth. When I am down and need it, it is very welcome, but relied on too much, it's not a real bundle of goodness...

His words brought to light the fact that in what our world sees as the sexual arena, regardless of kink factor, I literally don't fit. I'm beyond the idea of what we seem to see as transgender due to the fact I'm one on the inside, the other on the outside, making me a mishmash and will not transition. I cannot justify it because I don't really hate my body. Yes, it would make it a little easier to fit into some groups. But for me, that would be a big betrayal of a part of myself.

Now I do have a fantasy that I mentally play with time and time again. What if I accentuated the two aspects of myself and in a way, reversed them? I've lived with a female body and no idea of what being a woman really is. I just don't get it. Never really have. So what if I opted for testosterone? No surgery. Just the hormones. I wouldn't change my name, nor my id. Imagine. My body would shift, my voice deepen, I'd grow a beard...and I would choose to keep the F on my driver's license. F for female and F for fuck the world.

Why should I give in to a world that demands male or female? Why should I bend over and allow myself to be fucked up the ass by predetermined, prefabricated constructs of what we are supposed to fit neatly into? Squeezing ourselves into these boxes requires some type of amputation.

I've discovered over the years that it's easier to follow your own drummer when there's something about you that already fits comfortably in the norm. It allows for small connections that validate and thereby give you strength to be your own person. Otherwise it continually leads to much isolation and loneliness.

Isolation and loneliness. This is why I've been immersed in the work with my shrink. It is this very thing that, if I choose life, leaves me no choice, but to dig into myself. On one level, I know that the strength and connection we all seek comes from our own selves. I just need to tap into that source and feel a continual flow.

Now what is different, in this small break from the shrink is the fact that although I was immersed in the blackness, another part of myself was detached and could watch all this from the side. I was able to objectively look at the whirling dervish of emotions I was caught in. I was able to clearly see what needed to be done so as to keep my strength.

I've stepped through these two weeks with new awareness. One being, the desire to paint again. This desire has a quality I'd not felt before. There is more sureness. It feels it comes from a place of substance.

In July, I will spend my vacation painting. I've begun researching the open studios at the Academy. Because I've floundered for so long, a little more, albeit informal, structure would be helpful. They have, for the summer, a month long group studio. The idea of working on my own paintings, within the context of a group, sounds good. In addition it would allow me free access to the weekly open studios with a model. I don't want to make big detailed plans because in doing so, I'm setting myself up for failure. But this feels right.

I am now acutely and painfully aware of the fact that a major part of the strength I seek comes from painting. Through painting and in painting, other connections follow. Yes, time and time again I've run from it. And each time, declaring itself more loudly, the blood source of my being is found in oils and turp.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Last August or September, Hoss called me and said, in that way that he has, "we're going to Ikea today. I know we'll find you a chair in the 'as is' section." So off we went. And yes we did. It was half price and looked brand new. We couldn't find anything wrong with it. All it needed was a slip cover. Hoss then said, in that way that he has, "we are going to make you slipcovers for the chair." goes on, things happen, and it doesn't. We never made the slipcovers. Not that I was worried. But it was still on his mind.

A couple weeks back Hoss said, in that way that he has, "Save June 4th. It's slipcover day."

So yesterday we headed out to the stores. I wasn't in a hurry because I couldn't decide on a color or fabric. Over the year, I'd tried to visualize what I'd like to see on this chair, and couldn't. It's the same with drapes. Because this is Seattle, in the summer the sun is up around 5 am and it doesn't get dark until almost 10 pm. It's currently 9pm and I see a somewhat darker blue sky with lots of salmon in it. Nice sunset. I need drapes for the bedroom. And I procrastinated because I didn't know what direction I wanted to go in.

My apartment almost has a Rothko feel to it. Fields of color. A large rectangle of deep red is layered over the beige carpet. Taupe walls that, depending on the light coming through the windows, shift from gold to green to putty during the day. The solid ochre walls in the bedroom with the eggplant comforter and sheets. The wasabi parson's table next to it is my night stand. What do I do with these big blocks of color?

Yesterday morning I walked into Hoss' place.

"Hey Hoss."
"We need to go chenille."
"That's brilliant! It's about texture! Let's do it."

In my little living room I have a rocker made of old branches and I had draped a crushed velvet throw edged in dangling rhinestones. It's so boudoir tacky and sensuous at the same time. The contrast between the two are sexy to me. Near that is my distressed wood little french dining table with a green top and cream base. I have two red chairs with wicker seats. (I love this dining set.) So let's push the texture contrast even further. There is the new addition of brown leather in the room as well.

Chenille. That could really work.

Off we went to Goodwill first, to see if we'd find anything interesting. Nothing. Not for slipcovers. But I scored in finding drapes for my bedroom. 2 panels. Each $2.99. Dontcha love a bargain? And...they are crushed velvet as well. A not dark. moss green. It'll be perfect in the bedroom.

From there we headed to Pacific Fabric. I headed over to one wall and fell in love with a burgundy fabric with gold pinstripes. That is, until I saw it was almost $25 a yard. $100 for slipcovers? Not today. I didn't really want to spend more than $30 but would up it to $40 for the right fabric.

We wandered through this vast space of fabric. Aisle after aisle. Large tables with remnants. We hadn't gotten to the chenille yet but I wandered over to Hoss and noticed the remnant table he stopped at was all silk pieces. And we saw it. There it was. It was a 4 plus yard piece of silk with a pattern embroidered in gold thread. The colors of this piece of fabric are indescribable. There's no way I can do it justice. This long piece has blocks of color, one next to the other. From a deep red, to a taupe, to a gold, to different shades of green, to a peach. They change with the light. The piece was quilted on the back. It would make a fabulous bedspread. And there's a raw feel to it which saves it from being fru-fru. It's substantial. It's solid. It's luscious. It's fucking sexy. And the chenille idea went right out the window.

It was $10/yd for 4.35 yards. They actually cut this remnant (which surprised both Hoss and myself) because all we needed was a little over 3 yards. And we discovered later that this fabric was a $50/yd fabric. Serious score!

While the woman was cutting the fabric, I thought of our friend Tag and knew he'd love it.

(Note to Bitterlawngnome: yesterday I discovered we have a friend in common. Tag, from Seattle.)

Back to my story. What I didn't know at the time was Hoss had the same thought, regarding Tag. When we returned to his house, Hoss called Tag who came by and did indeed drool. (By the way, he went fabric shopping today and in addition to choosing some glorious fabrics, he picked up the remnant from my remnant to make a bolster for his bed.) We all hung out and Hoss worked on the slipcovers. He sews. I don't. Instead, I assisted as needed. After dinner, we sat around talking while Hoss was whipstitching each cushion closed. Such a domestic scene. A quiet evening at home.

From there the guys were excited to see what the cushions looked like on the chair. We piled into my car and headed up Capitol Hill. It was great. It couldn't be more perfect. We all sat and had to admire the finished piece. Tag brought his camera so he could take photos of the chair.

The fabric feels magical because although my space felt comforting and very restful, it now twinkles in a new way.
My apartment breathes a little deeper.
It is a good thing.

Thank you Hoss.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Twelve hours ago I left the house. I have just now returned. Hoss and I went on a slipcover mission that unfolded into a whole day. It was good and I'm pooped. So you'll need to wait until tomorrow for details. Have a nice evening!

Friday, June 03, 2005


Two weeks ago my mom informed me that my brother, who was tentatively getting married in July, has now set a date in September. The wedding is in western MA. Now that I'm not in the NYC show, I've decided to stay put for my vacation in July. I'll still take my 2 weeks because I really need it. I'm also so burnt out, that although I want to see everyone, visiting really isn't about resting.

And...there's a third reason I need to stay home.

I want to paint.
It is time to paint again.

I used to almost always use my vacations for painting...instead of travelling. But I haven't done that in over a year. And in the last month, a part of me was mourning the fact that if I went east in July, I knew I couldn't paint. This works out perfectly. As for my bro's wedding, it is September 10th. I'm going to try and grab almost another 2 weeks then. I'll have the time. As of August I accrue one more week of vacation, bringing me to...a serious chunk of paid time off every year. Use it or lose it. So I'll hook up with east coasters in September.
The letter-

On my way to Cafe Septieme last night, I stopped to pick up mail. The letter from the gallery had arrived. "We are sorry to inform you..."

Oh well.

Wednesday night I noticed that the gallery's website had posted the list of accepted artists for the show. Scanning it, I didn't see my name.
Not having received formal notification, I wasn't going to say anything. Not yet...just in case. But that evening, I spent some time dealing with the ickiness of rejection.

Didn't they like my paintings? Maybe I am a crappy painter. Maybe I'm fooling myself. Maybe it's because my paintings weren't figurative. Maybe it's because they weren't current (although 2 years old, nothing specified that they needed to be). Maybe it's because I priced them too high (a trick from my first painting mentor - when you really don't want to sell a painting...overprice. If it doesn't hurt as bad.) I did somewhat restrain myself with the price. Maybe the jury...which consisted of only one juror...was a jerk. Or maybe a little bit of everything. Or maybe it doesn't matter.

Yeah, it all ran through my head. Once I was finished letting the maybes play around, bouncing against the sides of my mind, I let them go.

It's strange. I noticed that this rejection (although nowhere near as important) was similar to when I applied to Indiana U for their MFA program. My BFA instructors pushed me to apply. I was torn. On one hand, I wanted it. It was flattering. Hugely complimentary. On the other, I was 36 years old, completing my bachelor's, wanted to get on with my life...loved my town (ocean town) and the idea of living in Bloomington, IN...the midwest, the biblebelt, made me want to choke myself. On the third hand, my best friend received her music degree from Indiana and kept up a constant buzz about the campus that was a world unto itself, unlike the surrounding area.

So I applied. I came in as a second alternate. I was disappointed and secretly relieved at the same time. That's the part that's similar to this current rejection. Disappointment and relief.
The first alternate managed to get into IU because one of the accepted students had also applied to Yale...and opted for that. It was close.

I wonder if in both cases, I didn't get in because I didn't want it badly enough. There was ambivalence. Yes, desire. Lots of desire. But I wonder if I tempered my desire out of protection. Protection from hurt. Or was there a deeper reason? Do I not feel deserving? Skilled enough? Worthy of not being invisible? Or...does it mean I'll finally have to prove myself? I mean, if I get in, everyone will find out that I've really been faking it all this time. Yeah...I am way too familiar with the 'imposter syndrome' that another LJ'er recently wrote about. I struggle with it often.

When the shrink returns, I am definitely bringing this up.

Okay. This isn't all gloom and doom.

Here are some plusses.
-I found a great photographer who'll shoot slides of my work.
-Resume is updated.
-Although I've been promising to submit work for the last 2 or 3 years, I finally did it.
-Maybe this shrink stuff is doing something. Maybe the act of entering means my self esteem is improving.
-It will be easier to enter work for another show.
-And I will.

There ya have it.