Sunday 09.29.12

I can’t sleep.

That’s a sentiment I say a lot these days. It’s just past 7:00am and I’m goofing on the internet, working on a piece of art for my pen pal and trying not to get too frustrated with my inability to conk out. I had been doing my best to not resort to sleeping pills and there but for the grace of having no insurance I’d already be on them. It’s usually not like this; not being able to get to sleep. It’s usually getting to sleep with after a little resistance and then waking up a few hours later. I think I’m finally starting to psych myself out and am giving myself more sleep  issues than I started with.

I’m trying to just not think about it. Which doesn’t work too well when you’re blogging about it, I guess.

Tonight was fun. The full moon didn’t affect us as badly  as I had expected, there was a great energy in the bar and I had a visit from an old friend who I see way too infrequently which was a great way to finish out the night. We were able to catch up, be silly and even fool around (I told you there was going to be some how much is too much content here) a little.

(at this point I finally fell asleep. Around 7:30am. Woke back up at 10:30am and haven’t been able to get back to sleep)

So. As promised- the AirBnB situation.

Last month I read about it on one of the web communities (Last Sparrow Tattoo) that I’m part of and after checking it out, decided to throw caution to the wind and list my guestroom as a rental. I figured it would take a few weeks to get any interest; if any. That night I had my first inquiry. Two days later the guests arrived. Almost immediately after they left I had another booking. And then another.

It’s been a really pleasant experience so far; the extra money is going to help keep my budget more than balanced and every new person who stays reminds me that sometimes it’s ok for me to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things. I don’t spend too much time with the folks who rent the room- partially because of my schedule and partially because I want to give them their space, but it’s nice to be a part of people’s adventures. Most of them are traveling through for pleasure, so you’re meeting them on a high point in their life. Vacations, birthday trips, etc. Everyone has been super respectful of my house and I love getting their little notes when they check out.

I can’t say how long I’m going to keep up hosting an AirBnb room; now that I have Meg here I’m trying to balance it all out. I want it to be fair for she and I to actually have some privacy. Having strangers in the house can affect our ability to walk around with bedhead, in our underwear and not really having to be cautious about how tragic we look waking up after a long night working  in the gayborhood… but for now the money is right and the hassle negligent, so I’ll just takes it as it comes.

Anyway. I can’t get back to sleep, so I’m going to steal Mara and go see Perks of Being a Wallflower at the Ritz.

Photo: Polaroid Wall at Stephen and Heather’s Wedding. 


Saturday 09.29.12

I’ve been strangely busy lately. For me at least. This whole being social thing has it’s downsides and one of them is getting backed up on my domestic duties- Laundry, cleaning my room, etc. Having prepped the guest room/bathroom for my latest AirBnB guests (which reminds me- I still need to do an entry on the whole airbnb thing) I ran out of steam yesterday and my bedroom ended up a mess. So instead of leaving the house before work today I decided to play catchup. Sort and fold an entire basket worth of shirts and underpants. It ended up being way more time consuming than it should have, but I wanted to weed out all of the clothes that were too big for disposal; hanging on to XL shirts when you’re a medium isn’t practical and it’s kind of cathartic to remove them from rotation. So sort, remove, sort, fold, store. It took longer than you’d expect, which sort of hit on how long it had been since I’d done laundry. I need to get better about all of that.

The rest of the room cleaning went pretty quickly after that; just a matter of getting everything in it’s place and not taking breaks to watch Hell’s Kitchen or to devil Bailey. I still need to do some dusting (especially the stairs) but I seem to be mostly caught up now which is a giant relief. I get really stressed out when the house is messy.

Now that it’s officially fall I’m going to start working on my fall bucket list (see a few entries back) on my days off- I’ve already framed one of the pieces of art for the guest room and contracted someone to paint it for me, so I’m already two ahead of the curve. This “weekend” (for me- Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) I’m going to try to bike out to Fairmount park with a picnic in my backpack and spend a lazy day out in the park. If I can convince someone to go with me I might even pack card games and a blanket. The lament of the bar lifestyle (well, one of them at least) is that most people don’t have off weekdays like we do, so it can be very  difficult to find someone with a similar schedule who is free to adventure. Fingers crossed.

We’ve been dealing with the standard ‘full moon’ nuttiness at the bar; every month you can bank on things getting weird around the full moon. We have to kick out more folks in two days than we do the rest of the month. Normally respectful customers have to be chided for bad behavior… I’m glad at least that the FM is now and not next weekend during Outfest. That’s going to be chaotic enough without having to deal with the extra helping of crazy that we’re getting tonight.


Friday 09.28.12

How honest is too honest?
I’ve been documenting my life via diary for as long as I can remember. Tucked away safely in storage I have an envelope full of spiral bound notebook diaries that I kept from 13 to 20 or so. Daily dispatches from Plant City Florida where I grew up; angst so thick that Morrissey would be impressed. I always felt so out of place there- which in hindsight is ironic. We had a thriving Body Modification scene- with Jack Yount at the forefront there was a nodal point for folks interested in surgical and advanced body modification that has never really been duplicated. We had an amazing music scene; nightly options ranging from Ska to Death Metal at so many different venues that you couldn’t keep up with local and touring acts. . Cindy Wheeler had the Three Birds Bookstore that provided an outlet for the zine scene, Hardy Marks tattoo books and weird occult books and arty pornography. We had so many more options than I have in Philadelphia 20 years later, but there was still that feeling of being on the outside that so many of my friends have experienced.

So I wrote.

Sometimes it was just a record of my day. Other times they were long and hopefully eloquent diatribes that, while never shared with anyone, would have no doubt impressed the hell out of the sensitive reader I always imagined peeking over my shoulder.

But moving to Philadelphia emboldened me. It’s not that I found a community that I finally fit into; more that I finally became comfortable with who I was. I came ‘out’. In so many contexts. I worked in jobs where, within reason, I was able to be me. But the good came with the bad. That confidence and boldness reinforced negative traits; castoffs from someone who was already pretty self deprecating and had a lot of baggage but who put on a great game face when needed.

I’m not really sure when I became so sure of myself that I closed myself off to personal growth, but  there was a period not too long ago where I really didn’t like myself. Overcompensation. I became someone I wasn’t really proud of. Over time and loved ones lost, I started seeing how the ramifications of my actions played out. People I cared about didn’t stick around. When my ex Diana and I split up, it was the wakeup call if I wanted to end up a happy person, I had to make some changes in my life.

And I did.

I changed a lot. Some of it was driven by a fear of being alone, for sure. Other changes were made because I knew they were the right thing to do. By the time I met my most current ex, I was so proud of the changes I had made in myself that I forgot that change, that personal evolution, was a constant process not something that you just ‘stop’ doing when you feel better about yourself.

I still don’t know why our relationship ended. Just that we had an argument and the next thing I know it was over. I spent a few weeks blaming myself, and a few more blaming her and none of it really matters now.  I’m finally able to clearly look at our relationship as a whole- not just the breakup but the previous four years as well, objectively. As the intense emotion over the breakup dissipates, I’m able to see the changes that I needed to make but didn’t that may have helped save the relationship. That’s never an easy past time, hindsight, but it’s certainly helped give me perspective that was much needed. I’m not saying that I’m 100% responsible for the problems that we had, just that I was 100% responsible for the problems that I had and at the time was too obtuse to fix them.

I think all of this was spawned by therapy yesterday,   a great chat with my friends Rob and Dan and a surprisingly enlightening chat with a drunk woman that I cared after at the bar while she sobered up. But most importantly I had a long (think hour and a half- which for my telephonophobia is impressive) phone call with a friend after work where we discussed things that are going on in our lives- and our friendship that could have ended up with things getting really tense.

Instead we talked.

We said goodnight smiling. Issues (good or bad) don’t resolve themselves overnight. But it was damned nice to be on the same page with someone without ambiguity or just wondering where the other one’s head/heart is at and being graceful enough to know that sometimes even easy things are complicated but that doesn’t mean they can’t be worked on and dealt with.

My life has changed so much that I don’t even recognize myself anymore. And I’m shocked to realize that I’m ok with that. With not having a solid mental image after years of thinking I knew who I was and having to figure out from the ground up who I want to be.

So how much honesty?

I’m not sure. So far keeping this diary has been a really great help to me. After all of those years of keeping journals, then my IAM diary over at BME… it was strange for me not to be putting everything down. This is just the most public format that I’ve ever shared things on. I make no attempts to hide who I am; I’m out there with my full name, where I live, where I work. I mention my friends by name and invariably there are going to be things I want to put out there that are uncomfortable or unflattering. There’s something narcissistic about keeping so public a diary- I could just as easily keep these on my hard drive, digital versions of the old hard copy journals, but I want people to read them. For feedback, or encouragement or whatever.

I guess I’ll just keep writing and see where it goes?

Photo: Holy Mountain in our new inhouse movie theater!

Thursday 09.27.12

Today kicked my ass.
If Tuesday was a lazy go to the movies sort of lackadaisical day, Wednesday was an industrious self imposed ballbreaker. I didn’t really know how it was going to go, since I woke up much later than normal. Noon. That should’t be that much of a treat given the hours I keep- staying up late and sleeping past noon should be my prerogative not my treat, but for some reason I just can’t trick my body into getting more than a few hours of sleep. But I woke up feeling rested and decided to put some extra gym time in to counterbalance how little I did/badly I ate while on vacation.

After my normal toning and hour of cardio on the elliptical I decided to push a little harder and take a spinning class to top it all off. The class was so-so. I didn’t want to stay too late so I didn’t go with my normal instructor; big mistake. The group dynamic of a spinning class is held together with a really good teacher and the early class just didn’t have that. He was sort of snarky and didn’t really mix things up which led to a sort of dull workout. Sure I still got the cardio, and I still felt it in my legs… but he just didn’t keep me engaged. C’est la Vie. I told Michael that I didn’t like the other instructor’s class, so from now on I’ll just stick with him.

I thought I was done with exertion for the day, but at 11:30pm my friend Mara asked me to go on a bike ride with her, and since we rarely get time together (she’s a busy student at UArts) I jumped out of the epsom bath I was relaxing in and pedaled over to her place right before the rain started.

Mara is always up for adventure, so the rain didn’t stop us and we made it to the Art Museum before it really started getting wet. We hid under a group of trees and caught up and stayed mostly dry (but my fenderless bike had sprayed my entire back with muck, so it didn’t really matter that the rain didn’t get me) until the rain passed, then biked over to LOVE PARK to take some #mycityatnight pictures of the sign/fountain. Usually there are sketchy people lurking around Love Park, but I guess the rain washed them away. I decided to test my mettle, take off my shoes and go for a stroll in the cesspool that is the fountain pool. Luckily for me I have my Hep A & B vaccinations. Still- it was fun and added a nice little cap to the ride before biking back to Mara’s (my first time visiting her new apartment that she’s lived in over a year!) and hanging out until I finally demanded she put herself to bed.

The most exciting news of the day (unless you consider discussion of my cardiovascular health absolutely
magnificent) was that while I was in Santa Cruz, Robert and Carmela set a projector up on the ‘Dance Floor’ of our bar that runs through an AppleTv.

Let that sink in- I now have access to my own movie theater. Sure we can stream Netflix, Hulu+ and all that jazz, but any video file that I drop into iTunes can be streamed through the digital projector and on to a 20 foot wide silver screen.

I don’t see me leaving for home immediately after my shifts anymore….. because I’ll be in our private movie theater. Yes. I just like saying it out loud. To say that I’m excited would be an understatement. I just converted Jodorowsky’s THE HOLY MOUNTAIN and a few Kenneth Anger films to test out after work tonight…. will probably have to mess around with the compression but it’s a great start.

And I just remembered that I have therapy today. In six hours. Guess I should probably call it a night?

Photos: Love Park after Midnight.