Thursday 02.26.2015

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My wife and my dog have developed a strange symbiotic/passive aggressive sleep relationship where he lays as close to her as possible, burrowed under the covers, then growls at her (in his sleep) if she rolls over on him. You’d think that after almost two years of sleeping in the same bed together they would have worked out some sort of mutually agreeable pattern- but maybe rolling/growling is it.

They also trend towards center/my side of the bed leaving a little strip for me, though tonight between her Mickey Mouse Tsum Tsum and his long spidery legs actually being folded in for once I have an unusually generous amount of space to stretch out, watch horror movies and be awake when I should be sleeping.

I’m not complaining. I like our bed dynamic. Just funny watching these two battle it out in their quest for sleep supremacy.

I’ve been a total grouch the last few weeks- the weather is no longer charming and is trending on unbearable. As much as I bitched about winter last year, this one is worse. Too much snow. Too much cold. Too much fucking cold. I’ve skipped biking in place of SEPTA and taxis though today I managed a six mile walk with the weather a much warmer 25* or so. It’s been taking a toll on my mood and routines. The last few weeks have seen me being a hermity recluse, only leaving the house for work and movies. I try to remind myself that this is winter, in the North East, and that’s how winters in the north east are, but when it gets down to 4* before factoring in the wind chill- logic can fuck off.

I’ve been mentally planning our Vegas trip- Julia is joining me for APP this year- just to think about the warmer weather. Not the friends I’ll see and be able to introduce her to, or my beloved Bellagio buffet- but the 109* temperature that I’ll most likely bitch about once I’m out there but for now am drooling over.

Fucking winter.

 

 

Wednesday 01.01.2014

1535735_10202436329977051_1842024595_nHappy New Year, Internet.
Julia and I watched the New Year roll in quietly, nestled in our house with Bailey, sipping a celebratory champagne and being really thankful of the eight great months we’ve had as a couple and thinking about all the adventures that the rest of our lives has in store for us. We had discussed going out, but with me working in a bar-which is to say socializing for a living- the idea of a quiet ‘just us three’ night really appealed to us. As my new blog issued it’s first three scheduled posts (more about that later) we kissed and hugged and were all goobery with each other. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer night.

My 2013 had radical ups and downs.

My friend Shannon Larratt killed himself. There’s so much to that whole situation that I respectfully keep quiet about, but at the end of the day I often find myself missing my friend and sometimes enemy, and thinking about Rachel and Ari and how much worse it must be for them. Between the Stay Calm event we threw to support them/remember him and my TIFF visit that found me saying my peace at his old apartment I’ve found closure, but.. still a kick in the nuts.

Even more so losing Josh Burdette the same way. At the event, Josh and I were able to stand around and just bullshit about things, and his thoughts on Shannon’s suicide would have never given me cause to think he’d go out the same way. I choose not to dwell on how he died, but how he lived, and when I think back on my friendship with him the good memories far outweigh the bad.

And then Dennis Clegg. Dennis was a friend I made at the bar. Our senses of humor were eerily compatible, as was our love of cookies and Italian Greyhounds. I’d go months at a time without seeing him but could count on him leaving pleasant or sarcastic messages on my Twitter account, day and mood determining which it was. I saw him the night before he died, and in an uncharacteristic and possibly Jameson fueled bit of sentiment, he kissed me on the temple and told me that he loved me and my family. The next morning he left a note on my Twitter telling me I looked like a ‘Russian Serf’ and a few hours later died of a fatal heart attack at swim practice.

This year has served as a sombre reminder of the fragility of life and why I should enjoy it.

And enjoy it I did in 2013.

ggbridgeI started the year in Boston with my good friends Vee, Pat, Ed, Larisa and Dave. The rest of the year found me in San Diego where I got to hang out with Shain, Dustin, Ed, Heng, Chris and Pushead and then up to San Francisco for some touristing time with my friend Zoe who turned out to be an amazing hostess and tour guide. I got to have dinner with my old Florida friend Kristen as well as Hilary, Brooke, the lovely Kelly and Robin and her fella before braving Oakland for a latenight visit with Mr. Joyner. I made my yearly Vegas trip which was my best yet, spending time with Jenna and all of my amazing friends. I visited Toronto and not only saw JODOROWSKY’S DUNE at the Toronto International Film Festival but had the director dedicate the screening to me in front of the whole audience. I was able to visit Jennifer and Richard Stell at their great new shop in Tulsa Oklahoma, make friends with Jennifer Billig (who I’ve looked up to for years) and help roast a hog while hanging out with a lot of great tat-bros, had a crazy round trip visit to Providence, Rhode Island and finish off my travel season with a trip to Austin Texas where I was able to see Bethany for a second time this year as well as a bunch of other friends that I see way too infrequently.

That could have made for chaos, but all of the trips were perfect; cathartic, relaxing and full of adventure.

1507965_10202511466055406_1005943212_nMy greatest adventure in 2013, however, was breaking a promise I had made to myself earlier in the year. I made a pledge, as part of my health/fitness/mental health initiative, to stay single for the remainder of 2013 and into 2014. To have fun. To not get serious and to go on a bunch of first dates. I had committed to it and even when Julia and I agreed that a first date was something she and I needed to do, I was still 100% behind my pledge. By the second date I was ready to propose. As I type this, she’s asleep at my side, curled into an adorable little ball of sass and long black hair and we’re about to celebrate our eight month anniversary. I’m happy to report that every day is still a first date and now that it’s 2014 I guess I can finally give up on the no dating thing and covertly make an honest woman out of her. The three years I knew her before our romantic relationship started couldn’t have prepared me for how we’d fit together as a couple and she continues to impress and humble me every day that I’m lucky to be with her. We know we’re “that couple”- and have the matching tattoos to prove it- but neither of us mind very much. And if you the pleasure of meeting her, I have no doubt you’ll find yourself understanding the smile that’s permanently on my face these days.

1374075_709363687906_1460643889_nIt was a great year for other kinds of firsts, as well. I ran two 5ks in 2013. The first on almost no sleep the day of the STAY CALM event, the second on almost no sleep for the AIDS WALK PHILADELPHIA where our team raised well over $3000 for people in our area affected by HIV/AIDS. The first race I ran with Erin, the second with a team who all braved an early morning wakeup call to get our asses out and run for people who aren’t as fortunate as we are. It felt great. Every mile of it. I’m not sure if I’m going to do the charity portion this year; I think I pushed my friends and loved ones to the breaking point with my aggressive fundraising, but I’ll absolutely be doing more team runs. Hell. We even started a running club at APP in 2013, with folks getting up for a 7am run-time to run a few miles in already oppressive heat. Fun can be found where you make it.

I’m thankful for all of the good times that 2013 brought me, as well as the bad ones. I did things that in previous years I would have never thought myself capable of- running 5ks, maintaining a friendship with a former girlfriend (of course, Natalie is so rad that it’s pretty easy to adore her) as well as introducing her to Julia, having a healthy stable relationship, healthy stable friendships and a allowing a stinky dog that loves me unconditionally to stick around despite him forgetting how to behave from time to time.

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 7.53.17 PMI ended the year by finishing up the final touches on a new project I’m working on that, as always, documenting and archives something. In this case it’s Body Modification History and the blog is called Sacred Debris. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, you should check it out. Right now it’s light on content, but hell, it’s only four and a half hours old. As we move into the new year I’m going to be adding tons of content to make sure that a major part of my formative years won’t just disappear.

Thank you, so much, to everyone who made my year amazing, and I look forward to starting 2014 knowing that we’ll have more adventures to come!

Thursday 10.18.2013

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My room is a mess and I should be cleaning it.
Bailey needs a bath. I have AirBnB guests coming tomorrow and it would behoove me to go straighten up the communal rooms instead of laying back, relaxed, listening to Julia occasionally talk in her sleep and watching John Carpenter’s The Prince of Darkness.

I’ve got a message for you, and you’re not going to like it.

During the month of October I double or triple my already excessive horror movie intake. Today has been excessive even by those standards, starting a new one as soon as the credits finish on the one before. Classic horror. Remakes. Remakes that have become classic horror. After taking a two mile run I retired back to the house and immersed myself in gore, nudity, violence and death while Bailey casually cleaned himself (though he still needs a bath) with a series of wet slurping licks that were even more unsettling than the parade of viscera I was watching onscreen.

1385726_10201903919147113_1604391780_nOctober is the best month of the year. Cooling weather, Horror Movies, Pumpkin everything, NYCC/Pushead and finally Halloween in Austin with Julia. Everything has been going so smoothly this month despite burning the candle at both ends. The Pushead event was pure geek gold; getting to BS with Chris, Phil, Ed, Pat, Michael, Tony, Mikee, Paulie, Marissa, Charlie and finally Pus was perfect. If you’re interested in the geeky details- toys purchased etc, you can swing by my collection specific site for more of that; for here I’ll just say that I wish I had more time to spend with my nerdy friends and we did this more than once or twice a year and I was glad to be able to geek out with them, introduce them to Julia and make my trip about more than just toys and art.

The remaining few weeks of October are going to be equally busy, so I’m trying to take it all in stride and have the best time possible. We’ve got the Aids Walk 5k this coming Sunday, the second half of the 24hr horror fest the following Saturday then a few days in Austin which will, I’m sure, be packed full of adventure, friends and good times. Julia and I finally booked a hotel and are starting to map out things we want to do while we’re in town; see the Alamo so we can later remember it, go see Friday the 13th at the Drafthouse, eat calorically irresponsible food and be ‘that couple’ despite how annoying it must be for everyone who’s not us.

I’ve also been working on a concept for a new Body Modification Blog. One that’s not weighed down with baggage or guided by a single ideology. We’ve got some folks lined up with impressive resumes who are interested in writing for us as well as some great ideas for articles… all we need is a readership that wants a community and not to just be handed content. It’s going to be branded SACRED DEBRIS (which means I’ll be changing the name of this blog to avoid confusion) after my print Body Mod zine from the early 1990s and I’m sure will end up being incredibly fulfilling or frustrating for me, often at the same time,.

So yeah.  There’s that. Projected launch is mid-late November. We’ll see if that actually happens.

Until then I’m going to enjoy October!

Saturday 09.14.2013

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I made it back safely from Toronto early yesterday morning.
Despite sleeping once Julia went to work I feel like I hit the ground running and am still trying to find my bearings being back home. Not in a bad way; the trip was cathartic to say the least and I’m in a much better place about Josh (and indirectly, Shannon) than when I left but I’m just feeling like I’m playing catchup with the real world. Catchup on sleep, on getting some time with my love and with work. It’ll all balance out in time and before I know it, Julia and I will be taking our first real couples adventure to Austin Texas for Halloween.

Until then: Toronto.

1235878_10201679923387359_1911299204_nToronto played a pretty major part in my life during the late 1990s all the way through the mid 2000s. With BME being based out of the city, I was up there a few times a year for event planning with Shannon, Modcons, Suscons, BMEfests, ModProms and just visiting I considered it a second home. As the years passed after Shannon sold BME I stopped traveling there and a city who’s streets I took for granted became somewhere I used to visit way back when. The decision to visit again was precipitated by making a last minute bus trip to the city to see a showing of Frank Pavich’s film JODOROWSKY’S DUNE at the Toronto International Film Festival. When I said I was going, I was mostly kidding; even though I love adventure the prospect of a 22hr round trip bus ride was daunting (Not as young as I used to be after all) and verging on irresponsible financially.

I’m not sure why I decided to go ahead and do it, but several hours after the trip was booked I was told about Josh’s passing. So soon after Shannon and I didn’t know what to think or feel. I rode down to pay my respects with Kathleen, Atom and Essie but was still left in a bit of a funk. Getting on a bus with no agenda other than seeing a movie and some old friends was the perfect way to clear my head. And it turned out to be much more than that. The city that was so familiar to me had changed; stores that I always stopped at were gone, replaced by chain monstrosities and thanks to my lack of data on the iPhone I discovered that there are 151 Starbucks locations in Toronto. I stopped at a fair number of them to be able to get on KIK or Facebook to chat with Julia, who’s presence I was sorely missing.

I spent more at Starbucks in three days than I have in my previous 39 years. Towards the end of my trip I finally stopped buying hot chocolates, chai teas or bottled waters; I became ‘that guy’ and just walked in, sat down, got online and chatted up my lady, made plans with friends and suckled the teat of tethered smart devices for a spell. Instead of asking me to leave the friendly kids who worked there often approached me with a cup of icewater and a smile, completing my theory that they may be Disney-made drones incapable of any disharmony.

The movie was AMAZING. Capital AH. Mazing. I have mixed feelings about the potential of a DUNE directed by Jodorowsky (admittedly my favorite filmmaker) but the documentary on it’s attempt earned a spot in my 2013 top five (more documentaries. Weird.) and absolutely justified the time I spent on a bus to see it. Synchronicity- my old friend- was with me, placing me behind the film’s director for the screening. After it ended I introduced myself and told him about my insane busride to catch his flick. He was elated- calling me out from the stage and asking me to stay after the screening to say hello. Which we did, shooting the breeze about my interactions with Jodo (coincidentally enough based on Shannon asking me to contact him about documenting ModCon) and our love of his films and life.

Things just worked organically for me the whole trip; walking down the street to see a smiling Phil Barbosa waiting for me by the theater, catching up with Evan and his friend for the documentary, seeing Jason and Silas, being hosted by the kindest personal assistant I’ve ever had and finally a full day catching up with Badur; who’s company and conversation really gave me some much needed perspective on loss, change and being the people we were meant to be.  I spent my days wandering the city, taking pictures of graffiti, eating poutine, revisiting old haunts that held memories good and bad and even visiting Shannon’s old Bathurst house and getting a little closure on his suicide. Instead of the home away from home that Toronto used to be, I blissfully found myself a tourist, free of the weight on my psyche that I brought up with me. My BME years are finished, that chapter closed. I met some of the best and worst people in my life through it and while I’ll continue the friendships I made through it and possibly keep up writing about Body Modification for Modblog (or not) or other Body Mod publications I feel like I can finally say goodbye to that part of my life.

1240303_10201679969388509_715786015_nI’m not the me I was the last time I walked down Bathurst street. I’m not even sure I’m the me I was when I got on the bus headed North. I’m happy to be in flux, always learning better ways to deal with things- even when those things are the suicides of people I love- always learning about who I am and who I want to be. Through it all I kept feeling like something was missing and as I sucked down one more Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate at the interchangeable Starbucks location I was sitting in at any given time I realized that what I was missing was home.

Home is Julia with her sly smile and heart full of unconditional love. Home is Mr. Bailey Papers, tail wagging and snaggletooth snaggling. Home is where I go when bad things happen, when people I thought were tougher than me ended up being twice as fragile and who did something I’ll never understand. I realized that I don’t have to have an adventure to have an adventure; that clearing my head can be attained with talking to Julia instead of holding it in and waiting for my next bus, plane or cab.  As my bus rolled into Philadelphia I was glad that I made the trip but I was even happier to be home.

A very special thanks to Sarah, Badur, Phil, Evan, Frank and Jason for putting me up, and putting up with me.  I’m very lucky to have the people in my life that I do and the next time I find myself in Toronto it will be just because; not as an escape, but to see the family that I have waiting up there.