Wednesday 03.26.2014

1958190_10203083110186152_757754188_nI’ve been having sleeping problems again. The weather the last few months has made me super grouchy, so I’m assuming that’s playing into it. Despite having woken up early today, I find myself in bed with Julia conked out next to me, Bailey sleeping in his wee little Baileybed and me wide awake. Once I get to sleep- probably around four am, I’ll have four hours to sleep before the construction resumes on the house next door. After seven years of living here it’s finally sold; from what I understand to someone who had no idea what state of disrepair it was in. For his $60k he’s got himself a house that has a hole in the roof and a tree growing through the back door. His three man refurb crew are working tirelessly from 8am till about 5pm ,every day. Honestly, having entered the house questionably a few years ago, I don’t really see how they’re going to be able to do it. It’s beyond disrepair; even gutting it seems like it would be a risky proposition. Either way, I’m trying to get used to the constant hammering, sanding, knocking and nailing. I’m trying to make the most of the insomnia; editing video for Sacred Debris, working on a Big Book of Fun(tm) for Orlando, writing the intro to (redacted. More info soon) and trying to put to bed an article on the 1995 Amsterdam Tattoo Convention for a friend’s ‘zine. If I’m going to be awake, I should probably be doing more than just watching 1980s movies (currently: MEATBALLS.) and mindlessly surfing the Internets.

I’ve been trying really hard to get into the whole ‘Spring’ vibe, despite it being late March and as of earlier this evening, still snowing. Over the last few Garbage pickup days I’ve taken out several x-tra large bags of clutter culled from multiple closets; things that were just taking up space that served no purpose other than to take up space. I have a lot more to get to- books especially. Having finally given in to the while iBook thing and being able to host all of the Harry Potter books in the space of a few megabytes, I find myself not really needing the space-taking thick as all hell books. I found a box in my guest room closet of books I didn’t even know I had, books that I haven’t read in years so it’s not like I’d miss them if they were gone. I’m going to make an AIDSTHRIFT box in the next few days and get everything dropped off. Julia has been doing the same; I think it’s a nesting thing on both of our parts since she’ll be moving in permanently in just a few weeks. She all but lives here now, but I think that having all of her stuff- or at least what she chooses to keep- will make it seem more real. By the time she’s 100% moved in it’ll be our year anniversary. We’re still obnoxiously, goobery in love with each other (even when she falls asleep during Coraline) so our #neverendinghoneymoonphase tattoos kind of paid off.

animal-kingdom-villas-story-01-v1Speaking of, I’m going to try to convince her that we need to get a vacation tattoo when we go to Disney in a few weeks (54 days) to commemorate another rad family vacation. This time Robert, Carmela and B4 are going to be joining us, as will a cadre of BME Weirdos. We’ve been crossing the Ts and dotting the Is over the last few days- getting the hotel stuff squared, getting our park passes set up, flight information sorted out… it’s been keeping me  occupied as the last dregs of Winter fight for a little more time. All that’s left to do is figure out where and when we want to use our Fast Pass+ options- three per day -and then we’re done. We bought five day passes (and are going to add the Park Hopper option) so there’s a lot of fun to plan. I’m really looking forward to the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain, Star Tours and the surreality of wandering around the Disney family of parks surrounded by Storm Troopers, Jedi, Sith and the Weirdos who’re joining us on the trip.

Once all that’s sorted out… there’s Vegas for APP. Last year I promised my friend Bethra that I wouldn’t do my traditional ‘I don’t think I’m going next year’ thing for the 2014 Conference. I had a really great time last year despite the sombre task of delivering my friend Shannon’s eulogy at the Banquet. This year I’m going with very few set plans. I might take a few classes if they grab me; might go see Penn and Teller again, might just sit by the pool reading and bs’ing with friends.

I’ve been trying to do the same locally, too. I had a really great brunch with my old friend Lauren the other day at Cantina. We hadn’t done that in years- sit down and have dinner, shoot the breeze and just hang out. It’s always weird to me how friendships can just sort of pause for a while. Lauren and I were really ‘there for each other’ a few years ago when we were both going through a rough patch at the same time so I was worried that having brunch would dig up those memories for me; instead I found myself laughing with an old friend and hoping that we’ll be able to do it again soon. I’m also trying to make plans with the always-busy Natalie for some catchup time. Once the weather gets nicer I’m going to try to make seeing local friends a bigger priority. There’s no excuse not to see the people I love when they live so close.

There’s been a lot going on since the last time I updated; planning my 40th birthday party, finally getting my John the Baptist tattoo worked on in a few weeks, J and I got into a minor car accident… life has been and continues to be full of adventure.

Photo: Sansom Street wall. 

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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.

 

 

Monday 09.02.2013

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It’s really easy for me to be super PMA when everything in my life is going well; to say that life will be full of ups and downs and you have to take them both as they come, accepting the hardships with the wins and trying to remain graceful regardless of what life hands you. But when they hand you something so heartbreaking.. what do you do?

A friend of mine, someone who’s been a presence in my life for going on 20 years, died on Sunday. I spoke to a mutual friend around midnight and then started the all too familiar process of getting in touch with people who I didn’t want to read about it second hand on Facebook when they woke up this morning. That’s been such a weird side effect of social networking; using the deceased’s wall to post farewells often before relatives and close friends even know that the person has passed away. I didn’t want people who knew and loved him to log on and just see it there in black and white, so I made the calls I needed to make, hugged Julia tight and let the reality sink in that another friend, another old friend, is no longer with us.

obmf1When I woke up this morning, there it was. Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good. Sometimes no matter how heartbreaking you have to count your blessings, accept that you can’t change it and be thankful for what you have. In this case, I have my health. I have an amazing partner who supports me, loves me unconditionally and who always knows just what to say to make things better. I have a friendship that lasted decades with an amazing man who had a capacity to love that was unrivaled. And while he’s no longer with us… I’m very thankful that I got to spend the time with him that I did and for the memories of him that I’ll carry with me.

I wrote a little piece about him for Modblog; if you feel like checking it out, please do.

“i had a dream a while back. in it, i met myself. the me that i met greeted the dream me in a way that i often greet people, with hands raised together as if in prayer, a sign of coming in peace. in this dream, the other me had scars shaped like arrows on the heels of his hands. one pointing up, one pointing down. i woke from the dream with this image burned into my mind. over time, the symbolism became clear to me…

as above, so below. the sacred and the profane. heaven and earth. good and evil. black and white. brain and body. what goes up, must come down. there are a million examples and ways to describe the idea, but it all comes back to balance. none of these things would exist without the other. they may occupy opposite ends of a spectrum, but they are inextricably linked to each other. my goal is to maintain that balance in my life. to have one foot in each world. these scars will remind me of that.

I’ve tried, all day, to practice what I preach. I’ve been mostly successful, thanks to texts, emails and messages from friends who miss him as much as I do, who are as confused and as sad as I am. Seeing an outpouring of love- local news in DC doing stories on him, twitter and facebook abuzz… showed me just how much of an impact he made on so many people’s lives. He lived a life worth living, a genuine life, and while I’m heartbroken that it was cut so short, I’ll always be thankful that he was my friend.

I’ve been crazing another adventure; Vegas for APP, San Diego for Comic Con, San Fran just because.. I’ve been lucky this year to be able to travel, to get on the road and to give in to synchronicity again…  so I decided on a whim to take a bus ride to Toronto next week to see a movie. 22hrs on a bus, 1000 miles round trip to see a two hour movie. Nonsensical and impractical, just for the sake of ADVENTURE. I booked it several hours before being told about Josh’s passing and it couldn’t have come at a better time. A backpack, a passport and no agenda other than seeing a documentary means three days in one of my favorite cities, means seeing old friends who I don’t see nearly enough, means taking that even when things seem so dark you can make your own light.

“Life is short, Break the Rules.
Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY.
Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably
And never regret ANYTHING
That makes you smile.” – Mark Twain

Photo: Altar at Julia’s.