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!


Monday 11.11.2013

We’re getting a bit of a late start at it, but Julia and I finally bought our (first as a couple) Christmas tree. It’s just a little thing, pre-strung with lights, but it’s super cute and we’re going to have a lot of fun decorating it and basking in it’s Christmassy goodness. We’ve only purchased one ornament- a creepy prancing reindeer- but we’re off to a great start. Christmas is such an amazingly tacky and excessive holiday, so I think having the tree up for a month and a half is perfectly acceptable; once our AirBnB guest (a really nice kid from Montreal) leaves we’re going to get everything set up. I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year which is strange since I’m usually indifferent or hostile towards the Holidays, but for once I’m psyched and ready to enjoy myself. I’m not sure what we’re doing on the day itself- dinner with the family, or Erin or just each other, but I have been tossing around the idea of having a New Years Bonfire at our place in New Jersey to welcome in 2014. I know most folks like to go out and party on NYE, but if I can find some friends down for a slower paced night I might just start working on the firewood and arrangements.

I’ve been allowing things to get to me lately; finding myself really frustrated by friends and situations that don’t really affect me or that I have no control over and I’m doing my best to try to filter that stuff out. I’ve spent years priding myself on not really caring about the politics/ideologies of my friends, even when they radically differ from mine, but lately I’m finally starting to relate to them more; their intolerance is wearing off on me and I’m questioning how I can be friends with someone who I’m seemingly so at odds with. A friend said to me that people don’t really think about the pablum that they post, that it’s sort of automatic, but how should I deal with someone calling meat eaters “heartless maniacs” when I eat meat? I know they aren’t talking about me personally and for years that’s how I’ve explained things away. But if you think people like me are heartless maniacs… you must think I am as well, right? The question then follows- not necessarily why I’d want to be friends with you (I shouldn’t, right?) but why do you want to be friends with me?

I’m just not sure how to reconcile it all. That’s just one example, obviously.

I had a great talk with Julia yesterday- then again, I have great talks with her most days- where I came to the conclusion that Facebook has made ‘passionate’ or ‘radical’ people really lazy. Back in the ‘zine days when you were passionate about something, it took some effort to get your message out there. Be it hand-making or desktop publishing a ‘zine (which is still partly hand made with folding, stapling, etc) you had to commit to it. You made the ‘zine, printed the ‘zine. Solicited and shipped the ‘zine. You didn’t just spend all day on your lazy entitled ass clicking links on Jezebel or Huffington Post or Fox News, reading half of an article before reposting it to show how outraged or politically savvy you are to the delights of your friends who “liked” it and reposted it before they even had time to read it all the way through. You researched. And you wrote. Most of all you wrote; your own opinions, rants and raves. You were part of the discussion right or wrong. You had your own voice. Now the most politically active of you do little more than reblog someone else’s words, someone else’s passion- nonstop. And you have me, who’s always been very happy to share my life with people who think differently than me, thinking maybe I’ve been a fool for thinking that tolerance was for the tolerant.

Who knows. Maybe it’s just seasonal grouchiness.

Photo: Sweet Wizard necklace I found, Julia as Kembra Phfaler, my receding hairline.

Tuesday 08.20.2013


It’s my Friday, Internet.
I’ve always hated that turn of phrase but here it is 2:50am and my work week is over and I’m using it with reckless abandon. My life is that boring. Monday nights/Tuesday mornings tend to be the night that Julia and I don’t spend the night at each other’s place; she’s nestled comfortably (I hope) at her apartment and I’m killing time on a reliable computer in my office before biking home and attempting to blog on my less operational and quickly dying Macbook. I won’t get all sappy on you folks because it’s late and I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but… I long for the day when there won’t be a ‘my place’ or ‘her place’.

Speaking of housing, I’ve been blessed with a decent amount of AirBbB guests this month; things are still going perfectly with that site and it’s users and almost a year later I can’t believe that I’ve had such great luck with it. I’ve met some really rad travelers, made a little bit of much needed petty cash and had a great experience with living outside of my comfort zone. Other than the one twitchy lady that left shortly after arriving we’ve had no real weirdos and a bounty of really fun people who’re open to the experience of staying in a stranger’s house for money and dealing with the eccentricity of the situation in both directions with grace and a sense of humor. Things will slow down as winter approaches, but for now.. I’ll take it.

I’m getting tattooed Thursday; very excited about that. I really wanted to be ‘done’ by the time I turn 40, but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen so I can just sort of sit back, relax and get tattooed as whim and availability strike me. I’m going back to Robert Ryan; he’s my favorite currently working American tattoo artist and I’m lucky to have him such a short commute away. We’re going to be taking out my last big piece of open untattooed skin; the back of my left thigh. After that it’ll be my buttcheeks and then fill-in work, little pieces here and there that will fill gaps and awkward spots that have been created by the ‘vulcanized inner tube’ aesthetic that I’ve gone with over the last 23 years. I’ll post pictures when I get back from Asbury, though it’s just outlines so it won’t be that dynamic.

I made my goal for the Aids Walk 5k in under a week- $500 in donations!
I’m so incredibly humbled and thankful that my friends, family, loved ones and even some total strangers were generous enough to help me not only make but exceed my fundraising goal so quickly! I decided to raise my goal to $1000 and see how close I get- I have until the end of October and I haven’t even dipped into my ‘premiums’ yet.. a new OV exclusive tshirt by Simon Erl, a Reign Supreme shirt/cd pack and more. So awesome.

Life is what you make of it… so I’m happy that what I’m putting out is coming back.

Photo: Me at the foot of Lombard street, SF/2013

Friday 08.02.2013


(I forgot to click PUBLISH on this the other day!)

I was born 39 years ago today.
I don’t really remember it. I’m sure there was some crying.
Originally my name was going to be Shawn Patrick Porter. Somehow I got saddled with Kevin Shawn instead. Kevin.  Not a fan.
It’s been a super chill birthday so far. Woke up semi-late at Julia’s, walked Bail back south to my place and watched Hellboy 2 then met up with Julia for a quaint little picnic in Rittenhouse park where she had packed up figs, salami and a stinky cheese, an orangina and a kombucha and a chocolate bar. Perfect little mild winter treat. She got me the most appropriate present imaginable and we sat in the park making funny stories up about people walking by, watching out for cute dogs and being all smoopy and lovey all over instagram.

Couldn’t have asked for a better birthday.

Most days lately are like that; couldn’t ask for a better one but knowing that tomorrow will be better than the day before, no matter how rad the day before was. I miss therapy some days but have been super proactive about talking about what’s going on in my life good and bad with people I trust. When I was in therapy I waited for the little revelations to happen; breakthroughs that helped drive some sort of change and help me figure out some of the baggage I carry around with me. The other night, Movie Night with Erin (Red2) I had one, out of nowhere. We were walking down 4th street, Erin, Elvis the dog and I, and I realized that everything I was telling her, my ad hoc therapist, was good stuff. I used to look forward to movie night every week so I could bitch about the previous seven days; even when things were ‘mostly good’ there were still those petty annoyances that I just fixated on, let fester and grow toxic and allowed to weigh me down.

The other night was more about how rad things are around me.

So 39. One more year till 40.

If this is what it’s like… I’ll take it.

Photo: Picnic by Julia.