Monday 08.26.2013

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Another late night at work.
I’ve been finished with all work related responsibilities for an hour and a half and now I’m just relaxing in the quiet dark bar by myself, listening to the Smiths and unwinding. It was ‘date day’ with Julia today and as always… it was the best date day we’ve ever had. Part of that is knowing that the next one will be even better and still being able to enjoy it  in the moment. We did a repeat of last Sunday’s fun, going to see the documentary Cutie and the Boxer, (now in my top 5 of 2013)  having lunch at Han Dynasty and finishing it off with frozen yogurt with delicious cookie dough crumbles dropped in.

The documentary was great; not so much about the artistic output of the two main subjects of the film but the examination of how a couple interacts and works together. When Noriko told Gyu-Chan that “Cutie loves Bullie so much” after a little bit of really honest henpecking and they both laugh together.. waterworks. Obviously love and happiness have been on my mind a lot lately, so seeing this cute couple that has been through so much together still having this devotional connection really sits well with me. Despite continuously documenting my life via diaries, zines, blogs etc over the last twenty something years, I’ve never particularly been a documentary fan but recently my favorite films of the year lists have been dominated by them; 2012’s BEAUTY IS EMBARRASSING and this year’s THE ACT OF KILLING and CUTIE AND THE BOXER have all made a tremendous impact on me with the little windows into other people’s lives.

Walking back to the bar with Julia, holding hands and stealing looks… just sort of summed up the last four months-ish for me and really drove home that I’m choosing to be happy. That it works if you let it. If my artist girlfriend ever chronicles our life together I’ll be very interested in the output and how she filters the experiences and adventures we’re having. Seeing her perspective on our life, not just my own…

The things you think about at 4am, huh?

ovpatchmockup1I’ve been very blessed (can an atheist be blessed?) lately. Since I made my post the other day about team Occult Vibrations and our fundraising campaign for the Philly Aids Walk 5k I’ve been incredibly humbled by the generosity of my friends, employees and total strangers, and in 13 days have raised $800 (and counting), beating my goal of $500 in record time and encouraging me to set my sights on $1000. I have a little less than two months to go to raise the remaining $200, so I think I’ll meet that goal as well. And it’s not just me who’s seen support in fundraising; Julia just recently hit the $500 mark and the rest of the team has been very proactive about getting the word out, soliciting their friends, family etc and as a group, Occult Vibrations has raised $1815 to benefit HIV/AIDS charities in the Philadelphia area, exceeding our team goal of $1500! We’ve raised the team goal to $2000 but I have absolute faith that we can surpass that as well.

Is it wrong to say that I’m proud of us? Of myself? I’m not sure if you’re supposed to self congratulate when you’re doing charity stuff, but I think we’ve been really fortunate to have the friends that we have and the support that we’ve gotten and I’m really happy to be part of this, team leader or not.

The tattoo appointment with Bink that I spoke about in my last update got pushed back to Tuesday (tomorrow) so I’m getting in that antsy/excited pre-tattoo phase where I’m both nervous and geeked; I don’t regret any of the tattoos I’ve gotten (even the ones I’ve covered) by any means, but I really wish I would have found Robert earlier and been able to have more big work from him. His aesthetic and personality just resonate with me so much; you end up getting a really honest tattoo from a really grounded human when he tattoos you, so I’m really glad that we’re going to be starting a pretty larger piece. It’ll give me more time spent in his booth instead of just quickshot one-offs and I can really soak up everything he has to offer. While he jabs needles into a really soft and sensitive part of my body. Fun.

I really wanted to get into how nerdy and rad it was to see Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and World’s End) at the Riverview the other night, touristing with Alex and Tianna and everything else that I’ve been up to since the last update, but I’m finally exhausted and Julia is at home waiting for me.

It’s all about priorities.

Photos: Cantrell Street. Inset: OV Logo.

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Tuesday 08.20.2013

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It’s my Friday, Internet.
I’ve always hated that turn of phrase but here it is 2:50am and my work week is over and I’m using it with reckless abandon. My life is that boring. Monday nights/Tuesday mornings tend to be the night that Julia and I don’t spend the night at each other’s place; she’s nestled comfortably (I hope) at her apartment and I’m killing time on a reliable computer in my office before biking home and attempting to blog on my less operational and quickly dying Macbook. I won’t get all sappy on you folks because it’s late and I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but… I long for the day when there won’t be a ‘my place’ or ‘her place’.

Speaking of housing, I’ve been blessed with a decent amount of AirBbB guests this month; things are still going perfectly with that site and it’s users and almost a year later I can’t believe that I’ve had such great luck with it. I’ve met some really rad travelers, made a little bit of much needed petty cash and had a great experience with living outside of my comfort zone. Other than the one twitchy lady that left shortly after arriving we’ve had no real weirdos and a bounty of really fun people who’re open to the experience of staying in a stranger’s house for money and dealing with the eccentricity of the situation in both directions with grace and a sense of humor. Things will slow down as winter approaches, but for now.. I’ll take it.

I’m getting tattooed Thursday; very excited about that. I really wanted to be ‘done’ by the time I turn 40, but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen so I can just sort of sit back, relax and get tattooed as whim and availability strike me. I’m going back to Robert Ryan; he’s my favorite currently working American tattoo artist and I’m lucky to have him such a short commute away. We’re going to be taking out my last big piece of open untattooed skin; the back of my left thigh. After that it’ll be my buttcheeks and then fill-in work, little pieces here and there that will fill gaps and awkward spots that have been created by the ‘vulcanized inner tube’ aesthetic that I’ve gone with over the last 23 years. I’ll post pictures when I get back from Asbury, though it’s just outlines so it won’t be that dynamic.

Fundraising!
I made my goal for the Aids Walk 5k in under a week- $500 in donations!
I’m so incredibly humbled and thankful that my friends, family, loved ones and even some total strangers were generous enough to help me not only make but exceed my fundraising goal so quickly! I decided to raise my goal to $1000 and see how close I get- I have until the end of October and I haven’t even dipped into my ‘premiums’ yet.. a new OV exclusive tshirt by Simon Erl, a Reign Supreme shirt/cd pack and more. So awesome.

Life is what you make of it… so I’m happy that what I’m putting out is coming back.

Photo: Me at the foot of Lombard street, SF/2013

Monday 08.12.2013

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A few years ago I was asked to join in the annual Philadelphia AIDS Walk. I did what I always did- gave some money so I wouldn’t have to wake up at 6am on a Sunday morning and had a few friends donate as well. My conscience was clear. No need to trouble myself, right? I still did my part…

OVAW2013This year, I realize that fundraising is great, but so is getting out there in person, waking up at 6am (after working until 3am) and running a 5k and being thankful that I’ve got my health when so many people in the Philadelphia area (and beyond) can’t say the same. With that in mind, I’ve put together TEAM OCCULT VIBRATIONS and am asking my friends to either donate to my team or JOIN IT! We’ll have some fun, make some memories, and raise much needed funds for people in our area affected by HIV/AIDS. I’m going to be guilting the hell out of you, friends and family, so get used to harassment! My runner page is here: http://www.aidswalkphilly.org/profile/detail/204162

Please consider giving what you can; every little bit helps and there are going to be premiums for donations like exclusive Occult Vibrations shirts, me coming to your house and cooking you dinner and more!

The last few days have been perfect. Nice little date day with Julia; we went and saw Joshua Oppenheimer’s unparalleled documentary THE ACT OF KILLING which instantly shot to the #1 spot in my 2013 Films list. So surreal and visceral and… I’d never seen anything like it. It’s going to get a lot of comparison to  Barbet Schroeder’s GENERAL IDI AMIN DADA but I think it stands on it’s own as something wholly unique. Haunting really; beautiful but ultimately disturbing. If it’s playing in your area it’s worth a theatrical viewing.

We decided to wash away the utter headtrip of the movie with some spicy dinner from Han Dynasty (you have to respect a restaurant named HANDY NASTY) and a nice relaxing trip to the park where we talked, laughed, got oogled by tourists and made out like teenagers. Every day better than the last.

Thursday 08.08.2013

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My friend Brian once said “Good or Bad, my friends are all I’ve ever had.”

I’ve spent the last few days surrounded by my amazing friends.
Having worked on my birthday proper, Julia organized an amazing get together at Fogo de Chao where friends from Norway, Massachusetts, Atlanta, New York, New Jersey, California and all over PA joined me to tell some stories, eat some meat and have a nice relaxing dinner.

The restaurant was incredibly tolerant of our chicanery, even giving the Sangria treatment to an ‘imported’ bottle of Hawaiian Punch that we brought in- mixing fresh fruit and fancy stemwear with cheap fruit juice because they got the joke. That kind of thing goes a long way with the Weirdos and we did our best to be entertaining customers. It paid off- as I was leaving one of the runners told his coworker “this was the most fun party we’ve ever had”.  I’m not sure if it was because I was taking pictures of a friend’s vagina under the table, or maybe Brian and I demanding twinkies after our Hawaiian Punch was delivered, but either way… great night.

We had a little post party good times at the ‘Stop, inviting everyone up to the theater where we set up the Popcorn maker Carm and Robert got me for my birthday, screening ‘Can’t Stop the Music’ and ‘Coming to America’ with fresh popcorn popping and most of us not wearing pants. Damn good capoff of an equally damned good night.

ddmmI also saw Jenna; quick airport trip to keep her company during a layover. I’ve been very spoiled this year; seeing her three times this year makes me want to shoot for four…  I feel like I never have time to visit friends despite having more free time than most of the people I know; it’s frustrating sometimes. I really need to work on getting a new roommate so I can book a few more three day trips before the year is out. My AirBnB bookings have been picking up this month so I have a little wiggle room for adventure, but it would probably behoove me to get a permanent resident in the other open room. Same story- all the time in the world but never time to visit anyone and a house with so much space but no one to fill it. Things will be more stable when Julia finally moves in. We’ve been talking a lot about that lately- the inevitability of her moving in and the little touches she’ll put on the house. I can’t wait to see how the house changes from ‘mine’ to ‘ours’ as she puts her personality into it. So exciting.

I think I’m s’posed to be all introspective and such with a birthday having just passed, thinking about my future and where I want to be in x years… Instead I’m going to take things as they come- planning new tattoos (22nd August with Robert Ryan) and adventures (Halloween in Austin with Julia!) and trying to see my loved ones as much as possible with dreams of Asheville in my periphery…

Photos: My #futuretrophywife and I; inset: DD/MM