Thursday 01.24.13

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It’s late and I can’t sleep.
Lately the insomnia has been creeping back into my routine. I’m not really sure why save for the occasional over thinking. I’ve upped my cardio at the gym and have really been working on toning, so maybe it’s just increased hormones? I’m not really sure. All I know is that I have to be up in a few hours and I’m going to be miserable when the alarm rings.

I had a really trying day today, the highlight of which was a USPS clerk accusing me of recording her (after she admitted that the post office had lost the second package I was expecting in under 24 hours) and demanding I leave the post office. Her proof of me recording her was the Morrissey wallpaper on my phone. It has a microphone. So I’m left with two items ‘lost’ at the 9th and Dickinson Post Office, and them basically telling me to fuck off. Cheers. I put a call in to the Department of Consumer Affairs, but that’s like complaining to the cops ABOUT the cops… like takes care of like. I guess I have to write off the packages (around $240) and just hope that they get returned to sender, and that the sender returns them to me via UPS. That’s how bad it’s gotten- that I’m considering a $400/year UPS mail box to avoid the USPS.

Luckily I had Natalie to calm me down via Facetime. I’m very lucky to be dating her. She just let me rant and complain and whine and sat there smiling until I finished. Didn’t try to smooth it over or offer suggestions, just agreed that yes, the Post Office IS the closest thing to pure evil the world has ever known, and that I’m right in hating them. It’s the little things- chatting with my gal, eating the rabbit stew I let slow cook all day, the botched attempt at brownies…

I also had a really amazing chat with my old friend Squeeker (also called Noni, Oni and Naomi) very late into the night that put a lot of my current ‘life stuff’ in perspective. Squeeks is one of those amazing friends that I don’t talk to nearly enough and whom I see even less. We’ve agreed that it’s totally unacceptable, so we’re going to make an effort to to both more frequently. She’s been there with me through some amazing times; good and bad, and is always there for me without judgement. I can only hope she can say the same about me. I’m very lucky to have the friends I have.

Speaking of friends- Big friend-fest coming up soon! The Philadelphia Tattoo Arts convention is the first weekend in February and I’m going to have a full house. Denim Dan is finally coming to visit as is my Boston hostess V (I hope she brings creepy walking cat!) as well as my friend Wayde (who’s no stranger to my house) and possibly my adopted brother Bruehl. Oh! And Peppermill! It’s going to make for a full house but I’m going to be geeked to have so many people that I love under one roof. As Big Red says- Blood is thicker than water. But he says it with a cool accent that makes it sound mystical and profound. Imagine it with a didgeridoo playing in the background. Crikey!

The convention itself… I’ll go. Make a pass or two. Take some pics for OV. Bitch, complain and then go back the next day. It’s a routine, but everyone knows that I love routine.

When I have more time remind me to go into the whole court/custody thing. As much as I try to remove drama from my life, exes always have to swoop in and add a little to the mix. Such a comedy gold mine. Blargh. I still need to forward the paperwork over to my lawyer- not that I’ve actually been subpoenaed, but there are still the huffing and puffing bench warrant threats. So surreal.

Anyhoo. Even if I can’t sleep, I’m going to log off, turn out the lights, put on my white noise dealie and just listen to some static for a while. I can’t can’t get into the habit of rewarding myself for not sleeping with fun internet chicanery.

Sleep well, internet!

Photo: Custom Astro Pirate painted by Hellopike (Phil).

Thursday 11.22.12

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
It’s true that I generally don’t celebrate most holidays in the traditional sense, but I still have a love of the little traditions that come with some of them. One of those traditions is to make a list on Thanksgiving of the things and the people that I’m thankful for. So far, 2012 has been appropriately an apocalyptic year for me. While Quetzalcoatl isn’t likely to make an appearance next month, my life went through a pretty major shift and I’m still seeing the growth and reward as a result of it. So. Here’s my list of Thanksgiving thanks, in no particular order.

  • Erin.
    What can I say about Erin that I haven’t already said before? She’s my best friend. Our friendship has evolved so much over the last few years and I know that with absolute certainty that she always has my back. When I got engaged, Erin was an obvious choice as a Groomsman, and even though it didn’t come to fruition I know that she’s still there keeping me sane, and safe.
  • Bethany.
    If Erin is my best friend, Bethany is my… Bethany. The entirety of her is perfect to me. The only person I’ve ever put on a pedestal that actually deserves it. We go a week at a time without talking and then just when I think about how much I miss her I’ll get a cute text or a photograph of her. When we first met the connection was immediate; I knew that she’d be  part of my life for the rest of it. Our friendship solidified in 2005 and we became family. Plain and simple. I can’t wait to get my little BT+SP Bee tattoo so I have a little permanent reliquary to remind me of how much I adore her. Not that I need it.
  • Alissa.
    There’s no mentioning my friendship with Alissa that doesn’t begin with ‘When I first met her, I wanted to slap her in the face.’ It’s tradition now, and since this whole entry is about tradition, there you have it. When I first met her she was a bratty teenager and Christ on Calvary I wanted to lay one on her. Seven years later and she’s an amazing woman who offers me so much unconditional love and support that, even though I still want to smack her, it’s a different kind of smack. We’ve been stealing time together more often lately, and I’m thrilled.
  • Denim Dan.
    How could I forget about her? We met earlier in the year and realized that we were already old friends. We’re told that on the second day we hung out we were already finishing each other’s sentences and already had in-jokes. I’m rarely so comfortable around new people, but she just puts me at ease, instantly. She’s moving to the east coast soon, and I’ll have her closer to me. I’m very excited.
  • My Family.
    I’m the luckiest son of a bitch in the world right now. I get to work four days a week with my Brother and my Sister in law. I get to see my nephew B4 growing into who he’s going to become. I get to have fun at work- our job is helping people have a good time. How rad is that? When folks want to go out and have fun, they come to us. It’s a great feeling to be part of people’s lives like that. So I get to spend time around my siblings and have fun. All the time. I’ve said it before, but my worst day at the bar, when everything is just working against us and you just want to punch a wall, has been better than my best day at Amazon.com. And my schedule allows me to travel, so I’ve been able to get up to NYC more often to see my Sister Kathleen and Brother in law Atom more often in the last few months than in the previous year. And I’ve recently ‘adopted’ a new member of the family, my housemate Megh. I like to tell people that she’s my daughter, and thankfully she’s on board with that. It’s nice to have her in the house; we rarely see each other but it’s very comforting to know she’s here.
  • Bailey.
    The Stink Weasel. Who’d have thought it? A creepy, stinky little beast that lurks around my bedroom while I sleep, smells like fish and constantly does inappropriate things that make everyone uncomfortable and he’s the love of my life right now. He cheers me up when I’m down, encourages me to take little walks throughout the day and waits, tail wagging, to greet me when I get home. He’s my consistency.
  • My new friends.
    I’ve been a ‘proud hermit’ for years and I defined myself by how reclusive I was. I made my ex my life. Turns out that I put my money on the wrong horse and when all was said and done I was out a partner (as well as some jewelry and a leica) and starting my life over from scratch. I had Erin, Bethany, Alissa and my family, sure, but I found myself lonely and in need of new friends to augment what my existing friends already provided. And I’ve been lucky enough to do just that. Make new friends. Be social. Create a circle of people who I care about and who care about me. It’s been great. I’m glad you folks are in my life, and I promise to try to be as good to you as you’ve been to me.
  • Therapy.
    I bring up therapy from time to time, but not nearly as much as I should. At first I didn’t know how things were going to work out between my therapist and I, but lately things have really been clicking. After a good session I feel energized and take what we talked about to heart. I’ve seen major advances in my life since starting with Cynthia and I’m excited about the changes we still have to take on.
  • Health/Fitness/Gym.
    I admit it. I’ve become ‘that guy’ since May. Sixty pounds lost before the weight gain from muscle building started, and my body is still in a state of change and it’s amazing. Sometimes I forget myself and shout from the rooftop about getting healthier, but it’s just because i want everyone to see the benefits I’ve  seen. I’ve changed my eating habits, added a varied workout routine to my day and work overtime to make sure that I’m taking care of my body like I (try to) take care of my mind.
  • Travel.
    One of the benefits of my schedule is the ability to travel again. I hadn’t been doing as much over the last two years, but I’m finally able to start doing a little bit more traveling. This year I’ve been to Vegas, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, NYC, DC and I have Boston and Florida trips coming up soon. I’d missed it. Now that I have a dog sitter that I trust I’m a little more flexible with being able to get out of town for a little bit. It really clears my head and reboots it to just lose myself somewhere.

Today my friend Mara and I are  going to be spending Thanksgiving with my family; eating delicious food (did I mention that we bought four dozen Macarons?) laughing and telling stories, and then off to work. Regardless of how you spend your holidays, I hope that you have a great day, and that you’re as blessed as I am to have the kind of friends and family that you know are thankful for you, too.

Photo: PA Dutch Hex Sign.
Inset: Alissa Denim Dan Bethany Bailey.

Tuesday 11.06.12

Today is a very important day to be an American citizen.
Today we’re tasked with the responsibility of choosing the person who will lead us through the next four years; who’s values will shape us as a country and set the bar for our relationship with the rest of the world. It’s been a rough election season; the vitriol and hatred spewing from the followers of the two candidates running this year has been unacceptably disrespectful; it’s been hard to want to be part of the process when you see the increasingly toxic commentary littered across social networking sites and in conversations overheard every where you go.

The candidates themselves represent the giant gulf between the ideologies of their followers; regardless of who wins the election a substantial portion of America will not have their beliefs and values represented. It’s something you just have to accept gracefully as part of the process- though I doubt there will be any grace coming from the party who’s candidate doesn’t win.

I spent most of today walking around Washington DC, checking out the monuments and thinking a lot about the politics of my century. I was sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Monument watching  my fellow tourists take pictures of his statue and I started  thinking about his most famous speech. I wandered over and read it-

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

-Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address, Thursday, November 19, 1863

I felt an amazing swell of pride, being an American. We take our lumps both in and out of this country, but for every misguided leader that we’ve suffered, we’ve had George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. They weren’t perfect men, but they were the perfect men for their time. It made knowing that I had the right and the responsibility of voting when I returned back to Philly something to be proud of. Something I get to do, not something I have to do. When I stepped foot in the voting booth I did what I hope you did- I voted my conscience. I didn’t vote for the perfect candidate; I didn’t vote for a catch phrase or a slogan or an idea- I voted for myself. For what I believe and what I hope my country will believe.

If you’ve never been to DC- do it. It’s awe inspiring. I could have spent all day wandering around; I saw more than I expected to see but missed out on the White House, on getting lost in the Smithsonian… I guess I’ll have to go visit again soon.

The trip was a short one and unlike my normal little daytrips had an agenda. Two weeks ago when I went up to NYC, my friend Alissa invited me down to DC to accompany her to see Henry Rollins perform. While I’m a fan of his BLACK FLAG years, I’ve never been that into his spoken word stuff. But the prospect of spending a day with Alissa- who I love like family- was worth putting up with Hank’s rhetoric for two hours. I’m not really a planner and had no idea where the show was going to be held; as we were walking to the venue Alissa had me google directions and I realized that it was going to be at the 930 Club where my old friend Josh works. Two friends in one visit. I saw Josh a few months ago at the Lucero show, but this was my first time seeing him on his own turf. He was very gracious to Alissa and I and made our show much more fun than we had anticipated. And loathe as I am to say it- I even enjoyed Henry’s performance. There was the expected ‘night before the election’ rhetoric, but a lot of his points (including a nice little bit on how Punk Rock Abe Lincoln was) really resonated with me.

Usually I’m not an overthinker. But this trip really had an impact on me in ways I couldn’t have expected and that’s not a bad thing. As always, I’m so glad to have the friends in my life that I do.

Photo: Street Art and Lincoln Memorial. (inset)