Wednesday 01.07.2015

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We got the first real snow of 2015 earlier today. It was great-that first one of the season is always the best with cleaning snow off the car, shoveling the sidewalk and salting the steps still exciting and not a laborious chore that makes you want to shoot yourself.

I’ve just made a quickie charcuterie plate and Bailey and I are curled up in the basement watching FRIDAY THE 13th PART 8: Jason Takes Manhattan while my adorable, exhausted wife is asleep a few floors up. She says the TV doesn’t bother her while she’s trying to sleep, but I always feel bad. And it’s just so dang warm down here that it’s easier to stay bundled under the blanket with Bails than to grab all of my stuff and run upstairs. I’ll still get to curl up with her, eventually.

I’ve found myself a slave to the heater the last few days, locking myself in my office or basement to avoid the cold reality of Winter finally setting in. I used to look forward to it’s arrival, but anymore I’m bundled up and grouchy because of the cold. We’ve had a mild Winter up until now, but it’s starting to get hateful out- my weather APP tells me to expect 10• tomorrow. Even with my thermals, my newly purchased winter socks and layers upon layers that’s going to suck.

The last few months have been really amazing. I always forget to write about my life when it’s good, usually updating when I’m grouchy or emo but these days I have very little to complain about. After asking Julia to marry me in May with plans for a November 2015 wedding we decided to say why not and got married a year early. November 16th we had our good friend AJ officiate a quaint wedding for family only at our favorite Philadelphia park. It was freezing. There were only ten people there (not counting the strangers that wandered by) but it was perfect. Just perfect. We exchanged our vows and took our relationship where it’s been headed since the second date in the presence of our family. We’re going to be doing another wedding next year for friends. Mostly because the idea that I only get to marry her once is silly. We always call our life a ‘Never ending honeymoon phase’ so I think we deserve to get married a few more times.

For the actual honeymoon we went on a Disney Cruise. Seemed fitting after getting engaged at the Magic Kingdom. It was overwhelming. When they say all-inclusive they mean it. I’d never been on a cruise before but the level of service on the ship was outstanding. Being able to share that with my wife, brother, sister-in-law and nephew was literally a dream vacation. Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and finally the Bahamas, each stop allowing us to be dorky tourists. We ended up liking our ‘sea days’ with equal measure, relaxing in the sauna or catching a movie and just enjoying each other’s company.

Every day has just been better than the last since Julia came into my life.

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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. 

Monday 02.03.2014

1525207_10202651068345376_1114759902_nIt’s been a really long time since I’ve had the compulsion to count things.
Tonight I had a bit of an issue and had the overwhelming need to empty out a bottle of quarters and count and recount them until I could get the patterns to quiet down, but unfortunately I wasn’t at home and it doesn’t really work when it’s just random quarters. Instead I set up some boundaries that my friend Mike helped me enforce and attempted to work through it. I almost sent an email to Cynthia, but I got the impression on our last session that it wouldn’t be welcome. The jaded part of me reckons that it’s because I’m no longer a paying customer/client, but the realistic part of me realizes that a therapist can’t just ‘be there’ for all of their former clients.

Needless to say it took me by surprise. You work so hard to be ‘well’ and you realize that working hard is exactly what it us. There’s no fixed, just better tools to work on the project.

Winter has really been getting to me as well. Right now it’s almost 5am and I’m landlocked at the bar, unwilling to bike home in the rain- that promises to turn into snow later today but is at least melting the last round of it- and unwilling to get yet another cab to get home. At least I have Netflix and the Internet though I’m woefully understocked on snacks.

I’ve had a half written entry ready to be finished here for a while. It’s been over a month since the last update and even though this is just a space for me to keep track of my days I really enjoy writing here. Been really invested in the Sacred Debris blog, which is going well and seems to have found a small niche and level of support, so at least for now my time doesn’t feel wasted for putting the time in it. Luckily I’ve reached a point in my life where the second it goes from being fun to being a burden… I can just nix it. I hate going into a new project like that, but with SPCO and Scarwars I ended up having so many bad feelings about it. With SD- it’s fun. The nostalgia has been really rad and for the time being… it’s a go.

Julia and I took a Wintertrip to Atlantic City that was really fun; I like to go every season to enjoy AC when it’s empty and sort of a ghost town, walking the boardwalk and feeling like you’re the only person alive. This year in the middle of January we had a rare 50* day and AC was full of tourists- some in short sleeves, enjoying a spring day in heart of winter. What can you do; we still had a good time.

We also just had the Philly Tattoo Convention roll through. My feelings as always are pretty much summed up with a ‘not for me’ but I do love the friends that come into town because of it, so it’s worth it in the end.

Meh.

 

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!