Presidents’ Day

If my day had ended after making my last post I would still have considered it a nearly perfect day. My day did not end there, however. I’m not saying that it went to hell after that. No, it didn’t go to hell. It continued to be amazing. It just wound up being more than my poor little body could handle and I’m paying for it now. So I need to take a day of rest and give myself a bit of a break. And why not? It’s a holiday, it’s Presidents’ Day. If the government can take a day off, so can I?

As I was writing my last post I was feeling quite content with the day. I was perfectly satisfied with what had transpired and was ready to put it down in the win column and retire early. But that was before I saw that some of my friends were getting together at a nearby bowling alley. Oh how I wanted to see them. These are good friends, near and dear to my heart and friends that I haven’t seen enough of lately. Winter tends to go that way. None of us get out as much and our social contact suffers. So does my mental health. Still, it would require energy that I didn’t know if I had and after having such a wonderful day I was reluctant to test fate.

But as fate would have it I also ran out of rolling papers at this point. If seeing my friends wasn’t enough motivation to get me to go back out, my nicotine addiction certainly was.  I quite smoking back in 2004 and except for a few slip-up here and there, I remained smoke-free for six years. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, but when my nephew was killed, I just didn’t seem to care anymore. Since then I have tried quitting numerous times, even started using electronic cigarettes for a while but in the end I kept going back to tobacco.

Addictions can rule your life and I don’t like anything having that much power over me. Nicotine is extremely addictive but it’s not that harmful in and of it self. I’ve actually found that nicotine, as a drug, plays a beneficial role in my life. It levels out my mood and is a great appetite suppressant. I’ve probably lost 20 pounds since I started smoking again. What I do have a problem with is the twisted pleasure I get from smoking tobacco, something that I know is damaging my health and could very well kill me. That’s just insane and it needs to stop. E-cigs and their acceptance have come along way since the last time I used them. It’s time to try it again. Next month, once I have some money again, this will be my first purchase.

Until then, I still need rolling papers. It was almost 10 o’clock on a Sunday night and I didn’t know who would be open but I felt confident given that there were at least four convenience stores or gas stations between my house and the bowling alley. As it turned out, the closest one to my house, a mere six blocks away, was open. So far things were still going my way but I realized that I was at a pivotal moment. I had a choice. I could go home and call it a night or I could venture into uncertainty by continuing on and meeting up with my friends. I knew in that moment, that whatever happened, whether good or bad, could be traced back the the decision I was about to make.

Of course I decided to continue on… Life is an adventure, live it!

Fortunately, it turned out to be a good night filled with good friends and good conversation. After the bowling alley a group of us convened at the Spring Street for last call.  There were more friends, more conversation and more drinks.

Upon leaving the bar I was approached in the parking lot by a handsome slightly older man.  We started talking and he invited me back to his car to get high. I don’t smoke pot, nothing against it, just don’t like the way it makes me feel. Plus, it’s illegal and I really try to avoid criminal activity. Still, I found him quite attractive and was curious to see how things would play out so I followed him back to his car. I can imagine you thinking that was really stupid. How many tales of gay bashing, robbery and murder start off just that way?

Certainly it happens and I think I have a pretty healthy level of skepticism when it comes to strangers. I’ve had my share of unpleasant run ins with people I didn’t know but the people who have caused me the most harm in my life are people I do know. What I have never experienced is any trouble from meeting a stranger at  a bar, in fact some of my most memorable experiences have begun this way, not that I make a habit of it.

Once inside his car it because clear to me that he was most undeniably gay and that he wanted to take me home with him and that he wanted to have sex. The fact that he was gay pleased me but the rest I was not so excited about. I’ve engaged in after bar hook-ups before and I have no regrets about doing so – it’s just not where I was on this night. Plus, I really prefer to be sober when I have sex with someone… at least the first time. We did make out for a while and that was fun. But that was all I was up for so I excused myself and continued on my way.

I’m telling you this story because I feel like there is a misconception out there that gay men will seize any opportunity to have sex. Maybe for some gay men this is the case but it’s in no way universal.  Just because you are gay doesn’t mean that you are attracted to all people of the same gender any more that being heterosexual means that you are attracted to all people of the opposite gender. And just because you find someone attractive does not mean that you want to have sex with them. The fact is, for most of us, there are very few people on this planet that we would actually have sex with. Gay and straight are social constructs and regardless of how you identify it is not the primary factor in determining with whom you have sex or with whom you fall in love.

That reminds me of another conversation I was having with a woman earlier in the evening. Actually we were talking about boobs; more specifically about how everyone loves boobs. She mentioned how even gay men love boobs. It’s true, they do. Some are down right fascinated by them. It’s not a sexual thing, at least it doesn’t have to be. People just like what they like and boobs are pretty fucking amazing!

One more story, the I’m calling it quits.

While catching up with an old friend I mentioned that I am aspiring to be a philosopher. He was being supportive and suggested that I go back to school and study philosophy. Instead, I found myself getting defensive. I mean, I studied philosophy in college. I’ve read many of the greats and understand the basics of philosophical thought. That’s not what really bothered me though.

You see, the reason why I’m pursuing philosophy instead of say, economics or even psychology is that I don’t believe that it requires any specific training . All I need is the ability to think critically and the means to communicate my thoughts. If other people connect with my ideas, if I can explain and inspire, then I would conciser myself a good philosopher. I don’t need a PhD. or other accreditation. In fact I think could be a hindrance. When someone is considered and expert in a particular field their status can add more weight to their words than the actual ideas contained within. For some things, science for example, expertise is essential. But when it comes to understanding the human experience, keeping an open mind is essential. I believe all experiences and points of view have merit. I want to be judged by my ideas, not my degree.

Still, he’s not wrong. If I am serious about becoming a philosopher, I do have a lot more to learn.  I’m just not going to limit myself to learning the same things ever other student of philosophy learns. I will learn from everyone  and every situation. I have read Plato and Aristotle. I’ve read Camus, Confucius and Rene Descartes. On this day, I studied you, fellow bloggers, writers and experiencers of life; ordinary people with extraordinary stories to tell.

I leave you with this story I found on xoJane; a particularly poignant example of how life can suck and how we can still find a way to make the most of it.

A nearly perfect day

It’s always a good sign that I’m going to have a good day when I wake up on my best friend’s couch. Almost anything is better than waking up alone in my own bed. Since my son left for college the whole empty nest thing has really sunk in. I didn’t think it would be that big a deal. He was a very independent teenager and, despite my disabilities, I’ve always been a very active person so we didn’t  actually see a whole lot of each other the past few years. Still, I miss having him  here. It’s a much bigger change and a much greater adjustment than I had bargained for.

So not being alone is good. A sunny Sunday is good. And, yes, I did get out of the house yesterday which is also very, very good. As I was writing my blog yesterday I got a text from a friend whom I hadn’t seen I quite some time. She was contacting me to see if I sill wanted to get together for a beer at the 19 bar. With the way I was feeling I was kind of hoping she would blow me off, as often happens in my life, for which I am grateful as often as I am disappointed. As it turned out though, this was just the motivation I needed to get my ass in gear and hop on my bike and venture out into the wintry tundra. It was pretty cold last night and a 10 mile bike ride to the bar but I didn’t care; I needed to get the fuck out of my house. I had been cooped up in my house for three days without going anywhere. In fact the only person I had seen was Venus when she stopped by to give me my tour check.

The 19 Bar is my favorite gay neighborhood bar. It’s a gay bar for sure but a lot of straight people in the neighborhood go there. It just happens to be in a gay neighborhood. So it’s a gay bar, it’s a neighborhood bar, it’s a gay neighborhood, we could call it a neighborhood gay bar but I like to refer to it as a gay neighborhood bar. I think that’s more accurate.

Like most bars with a numbers for their name, the 19 Bar is named after it’s address at 19 W 15th street. The 19 Bar is also the oldest gay bar in the Twin Cities. Way back in the day, even back in the day I first stepped into the establishment, the only way you would have known that there was a bar behind the door with a 19 on it was if someone had told you. It’s still a pretty discrete location but there is a sign with a pink triangle and I think some neon. I guess that’s progress.

I knew I could get to the bar without any trouble but getting home might be another story. I sent my best friend a text to see what she was up to. She lives in the neighborhood and the 19 is her regular bar and I know I can always crash at her place. Okay, it may sound like I’m just taking advantage of her, and you are welcome to think that, but this is how I survive, by knowing and making use of my resources and these resources have been cultivated through a life of generosity, honesty and love and are received with tremendous gratitude and humility.

So here is my recipe for a nearly perfect day:

  • Coffee – Need I say more. If I’m addicted to anything it is coffee in the morning. Don’t even want to know what life would be like without that.
  • Sun – Especially in the winter I need sun. We simply don’t get enough of it and it totally effects my mood. I need the Vitamin D. I’ve been taking 2000 IU of D3 everyday and it helps but there is nothing like actually seeing the sun.
  • Dishes –  Okay, I love washing dishes. If I wasn’t a famous rockstar and paperboy I would totally want to be a dishwasher. I love washing my own dishes but washing someone else’s is even better.
  • Beer –  I had my two favorite kinds of beer today. My favorite is the kind someone else bought. My second favorite is beer at happy hour prices. Yup, I had both today.
  • Friends – Mean everything.
  • Biking –  I haven’t been on my bike since the 28th of January. That’s so not right. Biking is essential to a perfect day.
  • Pizza – Pizza is the perfect food.
  • Chocolate – No wait, maybe it’s chocolate.
  • Doing something that scares me – I was perfectly happy to have a simple, comfortable, easy going Sunday but really, no day is complete without doing something that scares the hell out of you.
  • Dive bar I was biking by Halek’s bar, as I always do on my way home, but this time I just decided that I had to stop in for a quick one.
  • Music – I love their jukebox!
  • My kids – I talked to both my kids today. They are both doing really well. At the end of it all, that is all that matters.
  • Boobies – Okay, I don’t know why I am including this but yes, boobs were part of my day. If you are trying to have a perfect day there have got to be breasts in there somewhere. Boobs are awesome!

So why was it only nearly perfect? To be honest, it’s because I don’t know what perfect is. Maybe I don’t believe in perfect. For all I know, everything is perfect just as it is. Anyway, perfect is something to strive for, not something to achieve. That would take all the mystery out of it.

Fetish Revolution – Part 2

Saturday, February 9th, 2013 was the day I had spent the previous three days in anticipating, the day of our full band performance at Fetish Revolution. I woke up feeling relaxed and confident that everything would go well. I also woke up a little drunk from the night before. That didn’t concern me. That I knew I could handle that. I also knew that it would be temporary. I made myself some coffee and got to work on my blog. This was actually the first opportunity on the tour where I had an extended period of time to sit down and really write. Venus and Jazz took off to get food and hit the music store. I stayed back to write.

After the coffee was gone I dipped back into the beer. I think Jazz was a little concerned when he got back to the hotel room and saw me with a beer in my hand. I’m sure I would be concerned if the tables were turned. But I was fine, just a little self-medication to stave off the nerves and keep me focused. I finished my blog, took a shower, shaved, painted my nails, did my make-up, got in costume and packed up my gear. This is all the stuff I do for every show; no big deal.

We arrived to the venue, 910 Live in Tempe, at 5 pm to pickup to the drum set which was being delivered. Big thanks to Patti for helping us out here. We wouldn’t be performing until 10 that night and even sound check wouldn’t happen for a couple more hours. None of this is a complaint. This is just the way it goes. If you really want to know what the rock-n-roll lifestyle is all about; it’s a whole lot of hurry up and wait! So, with the alcohol finally dissipated from by bloodstream and nothing to do the nerves kicked it.

There is always something to be nervous about before a show. Will we have a crowd? Will all the equipment work? Will the sound be good? Will I be able to hear myself and my band-mates? And the biggest one of all, will I choke and forget what I’m playing? All of these thoughts went through my head but the one thing I never thought I would have to worry about in Phoenix was the weather. The main stage was outside and it was getting mighty cold out. Obviously, not as cold as Minneapolis but it was colder than what I had planned for. I probably would have brought a different outfit had I known I was going to be playing outdoors in February.

We spent most of our time standing by the fire.

We spent most of our time standing by the fire

Sound check went great and the promoter wanted to buy me a drink. As we were standing at the bar chatting and enjoying our cocktails a gorgeous woman stopped by to say “hi” to James.  After she left he turns to me and says, “Yeah, she’s beautiful but she’s a bit much for me.” I was perplexed  What in damnation could someone who produces fetish events consider “too much”. Apparently she is into yoga, has placenta in her freezer and is into holistic love. I guess we all have our limits! I found this pretty funny though. I went on to tell him about how into yoga I am and how at one time I too had placenta in my freezer. Upon reflection I do think the later is kind of weird but whatever. I don’t know what holistic love is but it sounded like something I might be into.

After performing, these two kids came up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed the show. They were both really drunk but they were having fun. I thanked them and gave each a big hug. Then they started asking me why I was dressed they way I was. Clearly they were out of their element and probably had no idea what they had got themselves into. One guy said to me “You’re not gay are you?  I know you’re not gay”. I’m always a little unsure how to answer those questions. There is not really a simple answer. I could tell that he was hoping I would say “no”. I’m sure that would have made him more comfortable but it wasn’t going to happen. It’s pretty obvious that I am gay. Still, unless you want to fuck me it’s really none of your business what my sexual orientation is. Even then, the only question should be, do I want to fuck you? In the end I just said, “I could be, some people are gay you know.” Perhaps not the answer they wanted but it took the focus off something that was of no consequence to them and put it back where it belonged, on what a fucking amazing rock band we are. But don’t take my word for it, here’s a video from the show

Speaking of great bands, the headliner of the night was Assemblage 23. These guys are legends in the Industrial scene; super nice guys too. We had to stick around to see them play.

Assemblage 23 at Fetish Revolution 2013

Assemblage 23 at Fetish Revolution 2013

Oh, and I totally have a new crush. DJ Con is such an absolute sweetie. I feel like he is my long lost twin separated at birth, well… um… 16 years apart. His birthday is actually the day after mine. Aquarians unite!

Battle of the bulges. Photo by: Angel Collins

Battle of the bulges. Photo by Angel Collins

Back at the hotel I was finally able to remove the boots I had been wearing for the past 9 hours. Fuck, what a relief that was! My feet had been killing me.   What I hadn’t been aware of because my feet were hurting so much was how much pain the rest of my body was in. Upon releasing my feet from their silver patent leather bondage, sensation returned to every other part of my body and it was not a pleasant sensation. Luckily, there was still beer in the fridge and half a bottle of whiskey. Jazz and I stayed up for a few more hours talking but he offered no help in drinking the booze. I was on my own for that.

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