Monday, November 29, 2010

Well alrighty, then

I woke up very early this morning, after having gone to bed very late last night. My body had simply gotten enough sleep over the long weekend, and was done with it. I have read that as one ages, one needs less sleep. Here's to hoping I put my future increased waking hours to good use.

In my tendency to try and draw life lessons from everything, I reached a few conclusions this past weekend.

1. In recovering from my last disasterous relationship I've gone far enough in cultivating my solitude. I would do well to increase my tolerance of human beings, and spend more time with them.

2. Even if it is very cold outside, I would do well to get out and walk about for a while every day (unless there's some really gawdawful precipitation descending).

3. Cooking is engaging, and a good way to spend one's time and creative energy (I knew this, but had forgotten it).

I'll be glad to see the end of 2010—it has been a difficult year. For that matter, I'll be glad to see my next birthday, if for no other reason than to put behind me the most difficult decade of my life (I've decided it was worse than even my teens!).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Do Not Fuck with The Old Ones

Maybe the Old Ones are Spirits, or maybe the Old Ones are the Collective Unconscious, or maybe the Old Ones are the accumulated weight of all the culture handed to you by your Mom, your Dad, your Lola, your Etsi, your primos, your titas, your cuyo, your friends, etc. But whatever. If you respect* that weight, that presence, then things will go well with you. If not, if you just jack around with the Old Ones, you could reap some damage.

*Respect does not mean sheeplike following. It could in some cases mean wise, knowledgeable and aware defiance. No one, IMHO, should manifest sexism, racism, heterosexism, etc. just because they saw it in their elders. Defiance can be respectful. "I'm doing things differently from the way you did it, because you gave me the wisdom to grow to my own conclusions as an individual, and I thank you for that."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Not Hiding; Seeking

Sunday afternoon I met F for pho at Pho14 on Park Road. Pho14 is pho heaven. I had the vegetarian pho; F had meatballs. The best thing about meeting over pho is that since it takes time to consume and enjoy, we indulged in plenty of conversation to catch up.

Afterwards we went down to the National Portrait Gallery to take in the Hide/Seek exhibit. The exhibits impressed me greatly. The curators managed to pull together artwork from almost every major lesbian and gay artist in US history. The works include art from Eakins, Wood, Johns, O'Keefe, Mapplethorpe, Warhol, Goldin, Haring, etc. The art is arranged by periods, but they flow seamlessly from one to the other. The exhibit hall was crowded, and not all of the viewers were LGBT folks (although many were; this might well be the best place in DC to meet gay men, or at least intelligent gay men, for the time being). Most of all, seeing this exhibition reintroduced me to the thrill of being gay that I felt during the first few years after I came out. During that time I devoured gay art and literature like a hungry man who's just come upon a feast. The artwork I saw Sunday reminded me of that initial rush, and brought me back to a place of not only pride, but connection and identity. I highly recommend seeing this exhibition; I intend to see it again.

From there F and I walked to get coffee near Metro Center, then made our way to the "Borderstan" area to Local 16, where the Pocket Gays group were hosting a "Spanksgiving" party on the roof deck. Seeing my old friend D and his partner M made me very happy, since I had not had an opportunity to hang out with him for some time. Also, I got to meet some more of D's friends. D has the most interesting circle of friends of anyone I know, and I was particularly gratified to make the acquaintance of Z, who is smart, affable and attractive (rarely are all three in one person, right?). After a good evening of chatting with old and new friends, F and I left, and I made my way home to supper and The Walking Dead. Perhaps due to the full and fun day, I had no zombie nightmares Sunday night.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Drugs, Rock'n'Roll, and...

Everyone does drugs, whether it is something as innocuous as a cup of coffee to something potentially dangerous like falling in love, to the totally dangerous stuff like crystal meth. While I do not condone the use of the dangerous stuff, I try as much as possible to live and let live with the lesser drugs. My preferred drugs are caffeine and television. This week promises to be a good week for my fix. First, Amber Tamblyn* joins the cast of House on Monday evening. Second, Burn Notice returns on Thursday evening, and it looks like they are keeping Coby Bell** on the cast—insert very loud ‘Yay!’ here.

Over the weekend my craving for new music blew up, and I bought two albums at Hot Topic. Selfish Machines by Pierce the Veil*** is a wonderfully seamless set of post-hardcore songs. It is listenable, without sacrificing screams and earnestness. Linkin Park has produced an amazing concept album, A Thousand Suns, which shocked and gratified me. It has gravitas and maturity, and it is worth every penny.

Finally, the bowl of vegetarian pho I had at Pho 14 on Park Road Saturday afternoon constituted one of the most fulfilling erotic**** experiences I’ve had in ages. The flavors, the textures, and my own decision to take time and enjoy it—it was better than sex. I’m still happy just thinking about it.

*Whom we love not only for her excellent performance as Joan in Joan of Arcadia, but also for her excellent chemistry with Jeremy Renner in the all-too-short-lived The Unusuals.

**Whom we love for being totally hot, as well as talented and cool.

***Who may well be the best-looking band on the planet; usually there’s one or two unattractive people in a band, but all of these guys are totally hot, and musically talented.

****Erotic in the sense of a deeply moving physical experience.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Total Exposition of Reality

There is no mystery, only reality. So, here is reality. The reason the Taoists divided everything into yin-yang is because it is a shorthand for everything. Female-male are polarities, not absolutes, and things shuffle back and forth between the polarities. True masculinity, true feminity is actually very rare.

Next, every religion posits metaphors for reality. Torah, New Testament, Al-Qu'ran al-kareem, the Upanishads, the Sutras, etc. - metaphors. Estimations and descriptions of the truth - not the truth itself. You cannot encapsulate the truth in words. Run at it, yes; bang your head against it, yes. Capture it and tie it down - no fucking way.

Next, you are free.

Fourth, recheck number 3: you are free. This is much bigger than choosing whether to put pickles on your sandwich. On Monday morning you can walk into your office and quit your job for no fucking reason whatsoever, because you are free. Or just don't show up. Yeah, you'll loose your home (or maybe you won't - who knows?). But that doesn't constrain you from quitting your job. Or going postal. Or just not showing up any more. You are free.

Next - we're up to five now, right? - society = religion, and religion = society. No one wants to deal with that total freedom, so they make up rules, call it God's Law, and impose it on themselves and each other. Durkheim was right: society is the totem, and the totem is society. What you have chosen to believe is a system designed to keep you from quitting your job/going postal/etc. (BTW, I am totally NOT recommending going postal. That's entirely up to you. As for me, there are other ways - read on.)

Six - You. Are. Beautiful.

Seven - re-read Six. This isn't about G-d. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Because you are the result of a mega-fucking Big Bang as the Universe expresses itself, and as each fucking star burns its fuel out and hurtles itself across aeons to extinction, and as a single mote of dust falls past a sunray through a window pane, you yourself are integral to that. The oxygen emerging from a pine needle, a kitten's mew, a raccoon's fart, the intake of the first breath of a newborn human baby - you are part of that. Tied to it on a subatomic level. GOOD GREAT UNIVERSE, I LOVE ALL OF YOU IN TOTALITY AND IN PARTICULARS, BECAUSE YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. 'Nuff said.

Ocho - because you beautiful, and you are a blip in the long-ass wave from the first fart of the big bang to the last wimper of the last dying star, we need you now. Good, bad or ugly - we need you now. As a participant. Breathe and go.

Neun - Love is simply this: be here now.

Sgohi - Now is always Tao - Now is always in flux. How can you be 'here' when 'here' is always in flux? Figure this out, and you figure out love.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Love...

Elderly couples who walk hand-in-hand. Little girls randomly jumping and singing out of pure joy and energy. A raccoon who pauses to commune with me as I make my way home. Skaters tearing up a concrete ditch in a southern exurb. The sound the wind makes in a pine forest. Lone thunderclouds on the plains. My cat curled up against my legs during the long, dark night. Excellent chord progressions. Mangos. The stillness of an owl watching me from across the street. The college student grooving his ass off listening to his tunes while waiting for a Metro train. A book bound with care and precision. Sparrows asking for crumbs in the park. Dogs. The feeling when my team scores. Uncontrollable laughter. My bare feet on beach sand. The smell of patchouli. Hiking. Hot coffee and the time to savor it. The memory of my grandfather in his garden at sunrise, with my dog patrolling the rows in solidarity with him. Waterfalls in the Blue Ridge mountains. Ice water.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Five Ways to Move Forward

I use the Samhain-through-Day of the Dead holidays to pause, reflect, recharge and prepare for the coming winter/year/decades. Despite the gawdawful polling on Tuesday (Day of the Dead, indeed!), I managed to pull out some positives from the four-day weekend. Here is a brief list of five ways in which I can move forward in my life:

1. Lighten up— most of the “big issues” have little to do with how the Universe operates.
2. Study for personal fulfillment— not for show, nor because I “think I ought to.”
3. Mourn losses— and then let them go.
4. Decorate myself.
5. Create.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Now Some Good Stuff

And now for the good news:

1. Friday night I did a bourgeois thing and went to see Margaret Cho. I laughed so hard I was sore the next morning. The woman still has it, and she was unafraid to share it.

2. Saturday night I had a nice, long chat with my West Coast friend James. We made preliminary plans to attend Burning Man 2012. This gives me something to plan for.

3. Sunday was a nice, quiet Samhain at home with Manuel. I made colcannon, which is excellent.

4. Speaking of Sunday, The Walking Dead premiered Sunday night, and it was really, really good. Intense.

5. On Monday I traded in a bag full of books at a used bookstore, and got a ton of store credit. I'm encouraged to take more—my library is going to go through a shift in focus over the next several months.

6. Speaking of books, on Monday I picked up the new novel The Instructions by Adam Levin. So far it is really, really good—and at 1030 pages, it had better be.

7. Yesterday Mom got through her third surgery of 2010 just fine, and I had a fun, brief chat with her while she was high on morphine yesterday evening.

Faith, Hope and Love Are Dead—Now Going toward the Within

The surest sign a person has that he's reached midlife is to look around and see a debris field where he had assumed his world would be. Faith, hope and love were useful ideas for a while, but they've failed to live up to reality. Love was just lust in disguise, and unable to withstand the winds of change and the vicissitudes of damaged people. Faith withered in the light of reality and the simple facts of day-to-day living. Hope was a slogan for a political campaign, and we then discovered the slogan should have been "timidity and appeasement."

What can I count on now?

I suspect the next phase of my life will be about discovering that all my resources are within. It should be interesting.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Keeping My Testicles

I went to the polls to vote this morning. The stealth republican candidate for school board, and one of his minions, were outside. His minion asked me to vote for the stealth republican candidate, and I said: "He's a republican; I'd sooner cut off a testicle."

After a brief shocked silence he yelled, "That can be arranged."

The party of the palin is so classy.