Thursday 02.13.2014

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It’s a familiar sight.
Looking out the window and seeing snow. Always snow. Always ice. Always cold. More winter to come apparently and the city Government of Philadelphia- while not being remotely capable of actually plowing or salting our streets has set up a ‘rat line’ where citizens can dime out their neighbors for not shoveling snow on our sidewalks. Our Mayor has a small penis. That has nothing to do with his inability to handle the winter weather, it’s just a random fact to add a little snarky spice to my municipal griping.

Lately the bad weather has had me down, but due to Julia’s job being super proactive with weather emergencies, these snow days almost always guarantee that she and I can steal a day off together which kind of adds a silver lining to the altostratus that’s hanging over Philly pelting us with snow. I stocked the house with groceries and art supplies, so as the weather gets progressively worse tomorrow we’ll be well fed and entertained, and the Valentine’s day dinner I had planned for Julia- surf and turf with two nice aged ribeyes and shrimp- can now be a shared preparation since she’ll be home to apron up and assist me. When we started dating nine months ago, she confessed that she wasn’t a confident cook, but we’ve been having so much fun in the kitchen since we’ve been together that she’s improved by leaps and bounds and I find that our cooking dates are among my favorites; dancing around each other in my tiny kitchen each taking a task, talking about our day, deviling Bailey and finally eating the simple or complex plates we’ve made. We decided not to make a huge deal out of Valentine’s day since her birthday was Tuesday and we did that up pretty well, but something makes me think both have some surprises lined up for each other, though those dumb little chalky message hearts better not make an appearance; they give a bad name to candy.

(just checked. still snowing. 10-16 inches predicted)

I’ve been working on some fun mail-art projects this week thanks to one of those Facebook ‘pay it forward’ meme things; as someone who used to draw every day but has since lapsed it’s always fun to give myself excuses to make art, despite my technique being incredibly rusty. I’m really not sure what I’m going to do or if everyone is getting a drawing, but I picked up a bunch of ink and some new brushes so I’m excited to give them a try. I love getting stuff in the mail but I rarely send any out and I’ve been really trying to do more fun stuff for my friends so this seems to be the perfect fit. My art has never really been great, but it helps me focus my fidgeting.

Trying to stay positive during the winter takes a lot of work.

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.

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

Monday 03.18.13

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Today a bunch of WEIRDOS will be getting together to remember our friend Shannon Larratt, to remember the last 19 years of BME, the friendships we formed, and the lives we ruined. Even if you didn’t know Shannon, even if you just want to have a great (vegan, god help me) dinner with some tattooed, pierced and morally flexible people… consider joining us at NEW HARMONY in Chinatown Philadelphia for what promises to be a really amazing time. Our last WEIRDOS dinner there was so good we offended a stripper, who got up and left without finishing her meal. This time we’re not going to restrain ourselves.mjff6zmz

Weirdos DIM SUM of DOOM

It’s a vegan place, so almost all dietary needs can be accommodated. We’d really love to see anyone who can make it out.

The last few days have been very surreal. Very little sleep, lots of catching up with old friends who I haven’t spoken to in years. I guess death does that; brings folks together who’ve drifted apart. I’ve had so many messages asking me how I’m doing, and the truth is- I’m ok. I process death very efficiently- one of the benefits of being a primarily logical vs emotional person. I’m going to miss my friend; miss arguing with him and getting random messages- but I choose to remember him and his influence on my life (and mine on his) over allowing my sadness to overwhelm me. But really, it has been nice hearing from folks. I haven’t gotten a chance to respond to everyone and I sincerely hope that people aren’t offended, but it’s been a mountain of messages to sort through and I’m going as fast as I can.

Today my family and I are celebrating my Dad’s birthday (it was yesterday) at Industry. I think he turned 73. I haven’t seen him since November, I think, so it will be nice to catch up though probably only briefly. He never really stays in the city long when he comes down. I haven’t been to Industry since my first date with Natalie, so it’ll be nice to go back. They have a lot of small plate options and with the Dim Sum dinner tonight that’ll work out perfectly.

Photo: ‘Glider Heart’ by Maee Kroft. Such a beautiful design.