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!

Friday 07.26.2013

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This is been a good year for travel.
I fully believe that how you start a year sets the tone for what’s to come, and ringing in 2013 on a roadtrip to Boston must have done the trick since the last seven months have been filled with adventure. I’m finally rested having gotten back from San Francisco and finally able to budget some time to sit back, catch up on MASTER CHEF and TRUE BLOOD and process all of the good times that the last week have given me.

vegasskiesAfter the last few really negative experiences with Southwest Airlines I was dreading the outbound San Diego flight, but the fates were kind to me and both legs of the first part of my trip had me leaving on time and arriving early, which is more than I could have hoped for. I had a fun little layover in Vegas and made it to San Diego with no troubles. My buddy Shain arranged a ride for me at the SD airport so I could avoid public transport and before I knew it I was starting my Comic Con 2013 Adventure.

I had only planned on attending the convention on Sunday for the Pushead event, but my buddy Ayelet, who I haven’t seen since the last time I visited SDCC, invited me out with her to check out the con on Friday, and the prospect of spending time with her outweighed the chaos of Friday at SDCC and I braved San Diego public transport to get downtown to have a little fun.

Comic Con on Friday is chaos. Way to many people, no one paying attention to anything because they’re too busy paying attention to everything, getting hit in the shins by strollers, getting knocked into by fellow nerds rushing a booth for an exclusive… it’s a weird combination of the worst thing ever and a really great time.

It was really rad to catch up with Ayelet, talk about the joy (and horrors) of home ownership and where we are in life. The whole SD trip was like that; instead of doing blow off a strippers ass I found myself having Icecream with my friend Pineapple and his Mom and Son, talking about therapy and fitness with Erica… being a grownup is surreal but ultimately rewarding. I’ve never really done much in SD beside Comic Con, so I tried really hard to get away from the Convention Center to do some actual touristing. My old friend Erica took me out to Ocean Beach to wander around and take pics, get sprayed with sea water and catch up… all of which we managed to do as well as getting BBQ. Can’t really complain about any of it, even the seawater bath!

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Sunday finally came and with it the Pushead 21 event. I’ve only been to the NYCC Pushead events so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from San Diego; it’s a much bigger draw for folks and I’ve always been super jealous of the pictures that have come out of it. This year the lines were set up in four parts: P, U, S and general. I was lucky to pull P10 which put me in a great place to grab some really fun toys. It also put me in line with some really great guys; I rarely get to bullshit in person with other Pushead collectors so spending time with Heng, Ed, Carl was rad as hell. I’ll put some toy pics up over on My Pushead Addiction, but needless to say… I got my moneys worth despite the plane ticket and associated costs of the trip, ten times over.

I capped off the SD trip with Shain, Dustin and Didier; having sushi, shooting the breeze about the old days of body piercing (well, Didier and I did. Part of being old guys is getting to wax poetic about the old days of anything) and just unwinding before I headed out to San Fran.

Hit my first snag heading north- hour delay leaving SD airport which screwed up my timeline re: meeting up with my San Fran hostess but things work out how they do and Z was kind enough to leave a key for me so ultimately it all worked out. I was in San Francisco briefly last year; Kathleen, Atom and I drove down for a sidetrip but I didn’t really have a chance to be the goofball tourist that I wanted to be so as soon as I dropped my bags off at Zoe’s, I was out and about enjoying the city.

heyjackI tried to hit up all of the prime tourist spots; City Lights Books, Fisherman’s Wharf, Haight-Ashbury, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, the Castro… I did all of the things that goober tourists are s’posed to do. I ate a garlic lover’s dream at The Stinking Rose, snapped pictures of landmarks and zoned out just being on an adventure. I met up with Hilary, Robin, Kristin, Brooke, Kelly, Tony and Jackson at Burma Superstar for dinner, braved the wilds of Oakland to spend some time with Steve Joyner and finally headed back to my basecamp to wait for my airport shuttle.

Finally at 6:25am I said goodbye to California and started back to Philly and Julia. As much fun as I was having, I missed home. I missed Bailey and Xanadont and Julia; adventure isn’t as much fun these days without her by my side. Austin is coming up soon…

Thanks to everyone who made my trip so rad; Shain and Zoe for hosting me on my adventures, Wes and Amanda for getting me into Comic Con, Chris and Pushead, Heng, Ed, Mikee, Carl and the rest of the toy nerds, HonkeyKong, Ayelet, Pineapple and family, Didier, Mick and Becki @ Cold Steel, Hilary, Robin, Jackson, Brooke, Tony, Kristin and her lady, Kelly and Steve… you guys kick ass!

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Photos: Golden Gate Shawn, view flying into Las Vegas, Ocean Beach CA, P10, Kerouac, card from Julia.

Thursday 07.18.2013

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Summer Vacation 2013.
The plan this year was to skip APP, which has almost become a given (and as such, not really a vacation) and instead attend the 2013 San Diego Comic Con. Ultimately I chose to do both and with APP behind me- fun though it was- I’m now just over 24 hours away from boarding a plane to California for what’s turned into the longest sequential-days vacation I’ve had since 2000.

It’s going to be tough; I’m a horrible planner so there is a lot of holes in my itinerary that I’ve yet to fill like transportation routes/schedules, it’s going to be difficult to be away from Julia and Bailey for that long and my roommate is unexpectedly moving out this week with only a few days notice so I know that I’ll have to start the ‘new roommate chaos’ when I return, but despite it all I’m geeked as hell about the trip and counting the minutes till it’s time to start it. I’ve technically been on vacation since Tuesday, taking it easy, eating water ice after a long, hot bike ride and generally being a bum. Once I get to the airport tomorrow the real fun will start.

Since I’ve been so lax on planning everything trip related, I decided to jump the gun and get my bags packed early. So despite not really knowing what’s going on for most of my trip I’m at least 100% certain to be doing it with clean socks, enough Emergen-C to stave off air travel related sickness and my traditional good luck bag of beef jerky.

I’m trying to decide if I’m going to take it easy today, bum around, have a hot diggity date with Erin and Julia and keep up with the lazy thing, or if I should go get a set in at the gym. I’ll be out of routine for almost a week so I should probably commit to a 5k at the very least. Meh. Decisions are the cancer of vacation.

Photo: Cool Down. Swedish Fish Water Ice