Monday, October 31, 2011

New amulet

I had a nice and quiet Samhain weekend, just relaxing on Saturday and doing my ritual on Sunday. Saturday I went to the gym, then tried the Book of Mormon lottery on my way to the grocery store. Even in the slushy, blustery conditions, there were still about 150 people out there. It’s actually quite fun just to do the lottery itself – a woman from Ecuador won and it was fun hearing/seeing her reaction. One winner was standing right in front of me. Close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades, as the saying goes.

Sunday I did my ritual, starting with cleaning my altar and the surrounding area. This led to me going out and getting some a hot glue gun to finish my 2010 Christmas ornament, which proved unexpectedly difficult as I had to visit three stores to find it. I finally got home and charged my new amulet for the coming year, a nine-fold star that is symbolic of the divine feminine aspect.


As October draws to a close, so does my love letter project (“Free love letters” – October 1, 2011). I’m actually kinda disappointed that I only had one taker to date, but after all, not that many people read my blogs. Some people asked verbally, but the parameters of the project specified that people had to send me mailing addresses. Maybe next year I will get some more interest.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Brief encounters

This is one of those days when I walk through the door, strip off all my clothes, plop down in front of my computer and start writing because it was a day worth writing about.

First, to catch you loyal readers up to date - Tuesday's Open Love NY meeting was our most well-attended ever, with 52 being the official count. It's the first time we've broken 50 people. Wednesday was our women's group meeting, where only Sylwia, Loli and a new member Claudia showed up. I know Claudia from Open Love NY, she came and hung out with me at Poly Pride in Central Park. Even though we had a small group, there were lots of laughs. We're going to try and do something special for next month's meeting, but we'll see if we can pull it off.

Tonight I was headed home on the train and there was a large group of female Princeton students all headed into the city together. Two of them sat in the seats facing me and carried on a conversation while I worked on my computer. They talked about dating and boys and mutual friends, and one of them just broke up with a guy because he wanted to have an open relationship. I took all this in without commenting because I thought it would be awkward to enter the conversation and tipping off that I had been listening all this time. But truthfully, unless I put on my headphones, I couldn't help but hear them since they were facing me and talking less than two feet away.

It was a strange experience to hear this very intimate conversation between two total strangers and not participate at all. Normally I would have listened to my iPod, but I found their conversation interesting because frankly, I rarely hear straight vanilla people talking about relationships anymore. Everyone who talks about relationships within my earshot these days is polyamorous, queer, kinky, or some combination of all three.

As we got closer to Penn Station, I shut down my laptop and just looked out the window, continuing to listen. Eventually, I did find a graceful way to enter the conversation and we introduced ourselves. One of the young women, Elle, talked about how she wished she could have more straight guy friends, so I suggested maybe she should pretend to be having a long distance relationship with someone so that guys she meets would know she's taken. That somehow led to my talking about polyamory and telling them about Open Love NY.

I gave them each a membership bracelet I had in my backpack and we talked about that up until the train pulled into the station. As the train slowed, the other girl (a Polish beauty with the face of a supermodel) asked how I got to be the president of Open Love NY, and I told her that was way too long a story for the time we had left, gesturing to the platform outside the window.

It proved to be a bit of foreshadowing for my second random encounter of the evening when I went to Papacookie. Kacey's in Amsterdam this week, but Lourdes was there, and Storm came later with Caroline (pronounced Karo-leene in the French way), whom I met at SlutWalk a few weeks ago. Of course it's always a pleasure to see Jonathan, Richard and Miriam, and I met a girl named Jill in full Halloween facepaint looking like a skeleton and wearing a black short tophat. I probably won't recognize her next time I see her.

I was standing at the table when the woman next to me asked me if I'd ever been to a gallery in Chelsea, a name that didn't sound familiar. And funnily enough, although I've been to many art galleries, I've only been to one located in Chelsea (although Kacey did try to take me once, but they were all closed) and that was for Puck's 19th birthday party and the first public event for Open Love NY ("Polina's birthday, part 3" - Nov. 16, 2009).

So I told her (Jesse) I was at the Lyons Weir Gallery in 2009 and that's where she recognized me - she was one of the few random people who were hanging around the gallery that night while Puck, Laura and I were setting up for the event. She had been visiting a friend who worked at the gallery, but none of them were associated with Open Love NY. I was flabbergasted that she recognized me from what could have only been a moment's glance, two years ago, without our even being introduced. She said it might be that she's a painter in her leisure time, so she has a painter's eye for faces. She introduced me to her boyfriend and we chatted about other things before the performances started.

So it turns out that a few hours after someone asks me about my origins with Open Love NY, I meet someone from outside the poly community who happened to be present at the very beginning. How extraordinary is that?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Inside outside weekend

I had a super-productive weekend, and managed to have some fun as well on Friday night. Puck was in the city Friday afternoon so they bought groceries for me (so sweet of them!) and waited for me to come home. I caught an early train and found them deep into the second book of The Hunger Games trilogy. We ordered Chinese food (tea smoked duck, shredded pork with garlic sauce and sauteed pea shoots) and watched a couple episodes of Buffy while snuggling in the playpen.

They got picked up by the parents around 9 pm to go home, so afterward I thought I'd go to Papacookie for a while, then the Mid-Manhattan Midnight Munch. But I got all the way up to Jonathan's apartment and found it locked - Papacookie is next Friday not this one :( I did a little shopping and just came home until it was time to walk over to the diner.

Kiwi, Beth, Dave, Ilan and Anastaysia were already there, along with many other familiar people. Piper came a little after me, and we spent most of the evening sitting in a group with House PNJ people and chatting. BTW, she is the first person I've ever met who is also a fan of Tampopo, one of my favorite movies - that really surprised me. Aaron came really late as we were about to leave, so he, Kiwi, Piper and I walked up to Port Authority so they could catch a bus back to NJ and I walked home from there, arriving about 3:30 a.m.

So, no surprise, I awoke just short of noon the next morning and called my hair salon to see if Taylor was working so I could drop off the CD I made for her. She was not, but would be working Sunday, so I decided to do all my domestic work Saturday. I did laundry, including washing and ironing the tablecloth and placemats, mopped the floor, dusted lampshades and furniture, washed my sheets and watched a bunch of movies.

Today, I got a much earlier start, like out the door at 9:30 am, dropped the CD for Taylor (she was so happy to receive it, and I look forward to hearing via email what she thinks), then grabbed a croissant breakfast sandwich at au bon pain on my way to Nordstrom's Rack at Union Square. I found a very interesting dress, a shiny crinkled fabric with a mesh top and flounced hem, and a black and white abstract print. I have no idea where I would wear it, but it was striking and quite affordable, so what the hell.

Then I got a new Sugar Rose lip balm at Sephora on the other side of the square, and browsed the Barnes & Noble next door and got a Blu-ray copy of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet. I walked a couple blocks over to Loehmann's on 7th Avenue, but didn't find anything worth getting there. Then I stopped at a grocery store to get stuff for my chicken curry and peanut noodle dishes. I'm still missing bamboo shoots, but as it was getting late and I was too hungry to make it to Chinatown and back, I got most of what I needed.

When I got home I ate the rest of my leftovers and took a break from all the running around. Then I made my curry chicken parts for the upcoming week and cleaned up the kitchen.

Next week is going to be super-busy, with stuff happening every night except Thursday. Tomorrow I'm going to check out the space for the Open Love NY holiday party, Tuesday is Open Love NY, Wednesday is the Poly Women's Group, and Friday is Papacookie. And next weekend is coming on Samhain, so there's some planning to do around that.

Hopefully it won't be too busy at work this week to boot.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fetishes and funerals

I have two topics bouncing around in my head that are completely separate things, so they really should be two blog posts, but I don’t have time to do all that so I’m just going to lump them together.

The first thing is the idea of social convention, and this came out of the encounter with the foot fetishist in the subway and being propositioned outside my apartment last weekend. It made me think a lot about the idea of rape culture we have that I marched against at SlutWalk, how women are made to fear being sexual beings in public but men are not. And I find one thing sorely lacking in modern society, especially in a city like New York, is the idea of social conventions on how people (especially strangers) are permitted to interact with each other.

I must be terribly old-fashioned to think that people should not greet or talk to each other without first establishing eye contact – that’s my rule. Especially these days when everyone’s on their cell phones and talking into the air, I don’t respond to anyone talking to me unless they’ve established eye contact and made some form of direct address first (i.e. good morning, hello, etc.).

Now it gets a little trickier when a foot fetishist sits down next to you and start complimenting your toe polish. Ideally, it would be nice if they were to introduce themselves first (although I tend to frown upon that too, as I always prefer someone else to introduce me to someone I’ve never met). But at least it would be closer to proper social protocol. You don’t just bust out a compliment without creating some kind of rapport – it’s incredibly rude in the nicest possible way.

I’ll give you an extreme example of violating social conventions that I witnessed a while back. On older commuter trains, the seats are arranged in rows of three seats and two seats (think rows of sofas and loveseats). The established convention is that outer seats (window seats) are taken first, then the inside seats of the couches, leaving the center seat vacant. After those are all filled, then the inside loveseat places are taken, then finally, the center seats on the sofas.

Well, once I saw a man asking to sit next to a woman who was sitting in the window seat of a two-seater when there were plenty of empty inside seats available on three-seaters. She looked at him as if he had two heads. I couldn’t believe such a serious breach of social convention was happening. I believe the woman surrendered the entire bench to the man and moved to another car rather than sit next to him.

When strangers greet you on the streets of New York, there’s an assumption that they need help with directions or something. When it turns out they just wanted to say hello to you for no particular reason, it’s creepy. It’s especially creepy when they address you with an endearment, like “hey gorgeous” or “good morning love.” It’s ironic that those words are having an opposite effect than what they probably intended them to.

Anyway, the next time a fetishist approaches me in a public place, I will have a firm response ready, something along the lines of “while I appreciate that you have a fetish about _____ and it’s great that you feel so open about it, please understand that I don’t share that fetish and you do not have my consent to talk to me about it.” I wonder how that would go over?

So the second thing I’ve been thinking about is funeral arrangements, only because I just finished “A Game of You” in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. For those of you unfamiliar, there’s a pre-operative transsexual character named Wanda in that story who lives alone in a New York apartment. She’s from Kansas and her conservative religious parents have disowned her, presumably when she came out to them.

Wanda dies at the end of the story and her body is taken back to Kansas for burial under her birth name, Alvin, but not after her hair is cut and she is made to look like a man. Wanda’s best friend, Barbie, attends the funeral and in a final gesture in honor of their friendship, uses Wanda’s favorite lipstick to cross out “Alvin” from her tombstone and writes “Wanda” in its place.

Since my situation is very similar to Wanda’s (other than the pre-operative part) I wonder if that will happen to me someday. My parents aren’t quite as religious as Wanda’s (last time I checked, anyway), but it’s very unlikely they would choose to bury me as Michelle.

And on the one hand, it’s not like I believe in a Christian afterlife where I’d care what happened to my body after I die. But the idea of someone having that control over the way I am remembered by the living disturbs me. And not that I think people will be lining up to visit my grave, but it could be the last permanent marker that I was ever here (if the Internet ever got wiped out by a super-virus or global EMP).

I haven’t made any specific plans to make sure this doesn’t happen, other than making sure my parents are not listed anywhere as my emergency contacts. But in the event of my death, I wonder if the authorities will be obliged to research next-of-kin through public information databases, rather than simply acceding to my written wishes for those decisions to be handled locally by my loved ones. I’m sure law enforcement has ways to track down my birth family, and even my ex through court records – the question is whether they are compelled to do so.

Anyway, sorry to be so morbid, but that’s what I get for reading stuff like Sandman. It does make you think about how these messy details get handled when one of us departs this mortal coil. There must be a lot of people employed just doing stuff like this. What an awful job that must be.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Making art

It's been a very balanced, relaxing weekend after a very quiet week when I actually spent four of five nights at home (Poly Cocktails on Monday being the only exception).

Saturday I went to the salon in the afternoon and got my hair recolored back the way it was in August, with deep jewel-tone red and purple layers. The colors had faded to light red and lavender so that it was much more noticeable. It was pretty in its own way and I got lots of compliments on it, but I prefer the more subtle deep tones that blend well with my natural base color.

I was talking to Taylor, one of the assistants I know at the salon about music and other things - she came to NYC from Scottsdale, AZ a year ago and now lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with her boyfriend. I offered to make a dance mix for her since she's never heard of mashup music, and clearly, I have a thing for redheads (even straight ones):


After my hair was done, I went out to House PNJ for my second Sketchy Night party, and as usual, I was the first to arrive. I set up my computer and worked on my love letter project and gathering images for Taylor's CD. Kiwi, Dave and Beth showed up, plus Dee, Rhea, Theresa ("T") and a couple other people I didn't get introduced to who spent their time setting up in the kitchen to dye nylon rope for rope play.

Dave, Rhea, T and I walked to the train station together, and while Rhea worked on undoing the braids she made in T's hair, a guy sat down next to me and started complimenting my toes in a very creepy way. He said he liked my toenail polish, told me which of my toes he liked the best, asked if my toenails grew any longer, and complimented the pattern of my skirt. I did my best to ignore him, but he was persistent. I didn't have to put up with it long because I'm only a few stops into Manhattan, but it was really annoying.

Then, to top that off, I stopped by my grocery store to get a drink before going inside and as I came out, another guy basically asked me if I would like to have a one-night stand. I didn't even acknowledge that one, but by then I was super annoyed. Two propositions in one night! That what I get for making my hair look nice, I guess.

So today has been a cleaning day and working on Taylor's CD. I've been watching movies, ironing clothes, cleaning off the piles of bills on my kitchen table, washing dishes, etc. I went to the Fifth Avenue Best Buy and Staples for CD supplies and used a lovely image of Ganesha being a DJ (which goes well with my intro track that intones, "For tonight, God is a DJ"). I wrapped the CD in cotton ecru paper and sealed it with the same image on the disc itself and addressed it on the back. Here's what it looks like:


I'll probably actually hold onto it until next weekend when I know Taylor will be working since I don't get home from work before the salon closes on weekdays (unless I have to work from home again like I did on Friday because of train tunnel problems). The mix itself is a bit of a revision on the one I posted before to emphasize mashup and in order to fit on an audio CD:
  1. Intron - Robin Skouteris
  2. One More Dance! - Robin Skouteris
  3. Super Bass - Nicki Minaj
  4. Till the Torture Ends - Fissunix
  5. Against the Floor - Robin Skouteris
  6. 4 Minutes - Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake
  7. Drop Dead Pretty Girl YEAH - Jimmy Klok
  8. Slow - Kylie Minogue
  9. Circus Numb Encore! - Robin Skouteris
  10. Carry Out - Timbaland featuring Justin Timberlake
  11. Sweet Mix (Is Made Of These) - Robin Skouteris
  12. Starstruck - Lady Gaga
  13. If You Kiss Jesus - Robin Skouteris
  14. Rolling Till The World Ends - Jarod Ripley
  15. Seal It With A Peacock - Dylan Vasey & OneLove
  16. S&M Remix - Rihanna featuring Britney Spears
  17. L.O.V.E. - Robin Skouteris
  18. I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
  19. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) - Arcade Fire
  20. It's All Over But The Crying (Remix) - Garbage
I'm really happy that I'm making beautiful things and sending them out into the world to be enjoyed. It's been a really good exercise for me.

Finally, for those of you who haven't heard, I'm also writing a new public blog, a joint project with Leon, my vice president for Open Love NY. We're writing a poly advice blog called "Poly Wanna Answer" and you can find it at

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Third anniversary

On Sunday, Puck and I celebrated the third anniversary of meeting one another, and the start of what has been an unexpectedly long, but amazingly wonderful road together.

I say unexpectedly long because we recently confessed to each other that neither of us thought we'd make it together this long in a relationship. Celebrating our third anniversary means we've been able to keep the emphasis on the positives in our relationship instead of picking at the negatives.

To celebrate we took the train out to Princeton to get Yoshi and drove to nearby Monroe Township to ride horses at Superior Horse Farm We saddled up with an instructor named Jen for a 45-minute lesson where we practiced walking, trotting and steering our quarter horses in and out of poles (I rode a tall muscular fellow named Joe, and Puck was on a shorter, stouter horse named Buddy). Jen rode her black thoroughbred, Victoria. After the lesson we took a short break and then went out on the trail for an hour to ride through the woods.




After our riding experience, we drove further east to Freehold to pick some apples at Battleview Orchard where they had purple-ribbon Fuji apples ready to be picked. We found the biggest ones on the ground already, but they were undamaged. We also looked for a pumpkin, but those were pretty well picked-over by then.



On the way home, we stopped by a homemade ice cream stand for some ice cream cones - I got chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate cake crunch and chocolate Oreo, Puck got cookie dough and butter pecan. Puck said they were treating me to the "high school boy date," which I thought was cute. It was even better than Dairy Queen.

We came back to Staten Island to hang out with the family, since sister Ella and her husband Sasha were visiting from Vermont. I gave Puck a very special present and a card to officially mark the anniversary and we went to sleep. I had arranged to work remotely on Monday, so we got up in a fairly leisurely fashion and I took them to their doctor’s appointment and got myself some White Castle for brunch. We came back to pack and then headed into Manhattan, where I dropped them off at Penn Station for the train back to school.

Monday night I went to Poly Cocktails and had a nice talk with Kiwi before going downstairs to join the rest of the group. It was fun as usual, but I was pretty exhausted from the busy weekend, so I left around 9:30 to go clean up my apartment, hang up some window draperies and other home improvements before collapsing into bed.

Happy 3rd anniversary, dearest - I love you!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Papacookie and Poly Pride

Short post today because it's late and I have a big day tomorrow with Puck, celebrating our third anniversary.

Puck came over in the wee hours Thursday night on their way home for Yom Kippur - I'd forgotten they don't have classes on Fridays anymore. I slid over in the bed and we had nice snuggles until I had to wake up for work.

I went to Papacookie Friday night and Storm introduced me to her younger sister, Hannah. Richard wasn't there, but he left instructions that no one was to take photos in his absence, so instead we all drew pictures with pencils and crayons. I drew an abstract of the first performer at the piano in a style reminiscent of Cy Twombly and Picasso. Storm drew quite a good sketch of me, since she was sitting behind me.

Since I wasn't allowed to take pictures of the performers, I took one of the view outside the apartment, facing Midtown:


When I got home, I found that Puck had left me about a dozen little love notes all over the apartment. Here's a sample of them:

On my eye makeup remover in the bathroom cabinet

"Look at all those books! Someone really intelligent must live here.... <3 P"

On my framed copy of "An Out of Doors Study" by John Singer Sargent: "What great taste you have! You surround yourself with so much beauty ... it is a pleasure to be around you <3 P"

Today I went to the Poly Pride Rally, which wasn't much of a rally because so few people showed up, maybe 50-60 at the most. But I had a nice time with a few of the Open Love NY people who came, and just sitting outside on a perfect, cloudless day and reading my book.


Katie and Dave

Now to wrap up a few more preparations for tomorrow before I got to sleep. I'm sure I'll have lots to write next time.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Unexpected encounter

Lots of thoughts bouncing around in my head, but not that many for public consumption – if you get private time with me then you’ll get to hear it.

I had an extremely rare instance of unexpected private time with someone for the first time on Wednesday night. The circumstances started Tuesday night, which was a leadership team meeting for Open Love NY at Murray’s apartment on the Upper West Side. We welcomed Linda to our leadership team and covered our major issues, planning the holiday party and setting some goals for 2012. It was late when we finally adjourned and Leon hurried me out because the elevator had arrived so I left my scarf on Murray’s couch.

Since he had given me an Open Love NY t-shirt to exchange for a size larger, we arranged to meet the following evening at Pleasure Salon, which is kind of like Poly Cocktails, but sexier. It’s held the first Wednesday of each month at Happy Endings lounge in Chinatown. I got there early and chatted with the organizer, Patricia (whom I’d met at Diana’s barbecue party a while back) to see about doing some kind of co-sponsored event.

I also saw Jen there and chatted a bit with her and promised to make one-on-one plans soon. I bumped into Aiden, who holds the distinction of being maybe the fourth or fifth person I’ve ever kissed in my life with romantic intent (this was at my first Cuddle Party in October 2007 before their gender transition).

I made the exchange with Murray and was about to leave when Beth (from House PNJ friends) came in and greeted me. It was her first time at Pleasure Salon, and she wasn’t feeling very comfortable there, so we left together to do some grocery shopping and have dinner at the usual cafĂ© on Grand Street. We talked about being shy and socially awkward and relationships of course, and our own versions of "failed experiments" over the years. Thankfully she’s not a picky eater even though she was raised in a Jewish family, so we got to share my favorite clam and sizzling chicken dishes, plus snow pea shoots with garlic.

My boss Lori always makes fun of me because when we first met two years ago, I described myself as “painfully shy.” So every time she learns more about my personal life, she throws that back at me, saying I’m being disingenuous describing myself that way. Like the fact I’m the leader of a 700+ member group, or that I’ve attended play parties.

But what I find is that people see a very different person at events like Poly Cocktails than they might see when I’m alone with them. I talk about personal things and I listen much more intently. I talk more, to keep up my end of the conversation, rather than hang back and let other people jump in and introduce new topics. I’m much more daring in what I say to one person than I would be in a group.

But of course I’ve also grown up a bit from two years ago. Two years is a long time for a 7-year-old. I’m much more comfortable with myself and confident with my interactions with others. It’s good to see and recognize this.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Dance mix

So Puck and I have been talking about doing a dance mix together. So this is my contribution so far. It's kind of repetitive, but I guess dance music is like that. Once we fold in Puck's contributions, we might have a pretty good result.
  1. Till The Torture Ends (Fissunix) - a mashup of Britney's "Till the World Ends" and "Torture" by the Jacksons. I love the old 80's bass line from the old Jacksons tune. For those of you who are too young to remember, this song is from the "Victory" album, which was the first time Michael reunited with his brothers after establishing himself as a great solo artist.
  2. On the Floor (Jennifer Lopez) - It mixes cities, countries and continents indiscriminately, but the lambada carries the day.
  3. Carry Out (Timbaland, featuring Justin Timberlake) - from Timbaland's solo record, Shock Value II, which also includes songs featuring Katy Perry, Nelly Furtado and Miley Cyrus.
  4. 4 Minutes (Madonna, featuring Justin Timberlake) - from the movie soundtrack of "Get Smart," the big screen remake of one of my favorite old TV shows.
  5. Super Bass (Nicki Minaj) - such a catchy song, makes me wish I had subwoofers in Yoshi.
  6. I Gotta Feeling (The Black Eyed Peas) - not strictly a dance track, but a toe-tapper nonetheless.
  7. Slow (Kylie Minogue) - from an old album called "Body Language" it's the British version of Britney.
  8. Circus Numb Encore! (Robin Skouteris) - a mashup of Britney's "Circus" and "Numb Encore" by Linkin Park and Jay-Z. The first mashup song I ever heard, and it was love at first listen.
  9. Rolling Till The World Ends (Jarod Ripley) - a mashup of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Britney's "Till the World Ends". The challenge? Make Adele danceable. And it succeeds.
  10. Against The Floor (Robin Skouteris) - a mashup of "On the Floor" by Jennifer Lopez, "Hold it Against Me" by Britney Spears and "S&M" by Rihanna. Probably Robin's second-best mix, after L.O.V.E., his tribute to Michael Jackson.
  11. SexyBack (Justin Timberlake). I first heard this used at a professional ballroom dance competition and it just stuck with me for weeks until I could find it on iTunes.
  12. Drop Dead Pretty Girl YEAH (Jimmy Klok) - a mashup of Britney Spears' "(Drop Dead) Beautiful" and Chris Brown's "Yeah 3X" and Keri Hilson's "Pretty Girl Rock". Another great mix off the Mash Fatale album.
  13. Starstruck (Lady Gaga, featuring Space Cowboy and Flo Rida). Puck and I always wonder why this song isn't more popular. We both think it's one of Lady Gaga's best.
  14. Seal It With A Peacock (Dylan Vasey & OneLove) - a mashup of Katy Perry's "Peacock" featuring Pitbull and Britney Spears. Always fun to make peacock noises at the end of this song.
  15. Lose Control (Timbaland, featuring JoJo). A very catchy, tuneful song. Timbaland doesn't get much recognition as a solo artist as he does when he collaborates.
  16. One More Dance! (Robin Skouteris) - a mashup of Daft Punk's "One More Time" and Madonna's "Into the Groove". Another one that brings back memories of the 80s.
  17. S&M Remix (Rihanna and Britney Spears). When I saw Britney and Rihanna perform this at last year's VMAs, I was blown away. A great dance duet.
  18. Gimme More (Britney Spears). From her under the "Radar" album Blackout, which I picked up used just to try it out after seeing a favorable review on a Borders staff picks once.
  19. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) (Arcade Fire). Also not really a dance song, and lyrics are too serious for this mix, but it's a different kind of beat.
  20. It's All Over But The Crying (Remix) (Garbage). Slowing it down now, this is from the band's greatest hits collection, Absolute Garbage.
  21. Nil Recurring (Porcupine Tree). An instrumental bridge, featuring guitar from the great Robert Fripp.
  22. Wedding Nails (Porcupine Tree). A second instrumental bridge, which I rediscovered in watching my concert DVD, which the band plays it at a slightly faster tempo and nails it.
  23. Hey, Soul Sister (Train). After all the dancing, here's a song just to sing along with, and my favorite tune over the last month or so.

Sony, SlutWalk & Sandman

I finally bit the bullet and got a new camera, a Sony NEX-3, my first "prosumer" camera of the digital age. There's nothing wrong with my old Sony point-and-shoot that has taken just about every photo you've seen on this blog, but after seeing and appreciating photos taken by others with better cameras (the one of Puck offering the cupcakes in Prospect Park, for example, was taken by someone with a DSLR) I decided it was time to upgrade. Too bad I didn't do this for my trip to Ireland, but better late than never.

Also, this Sony was on sale as a refurbished model at the Sony online store for only $329, and it can be found cheaper than that now. They are updating this model soon, so the existing ones are heavily discounted.

The last SLR I had that I lost in the fire of 2005 was a Nikon 4004, and that was a film camera. Since going digital, I've never had a camera with a decent sensor size, which is the main factor in digital picture quality.

So here's the first photo I took of my little family in the apartment:


On Saturday I went out to march at SlutWalk NYC to support that cause and to meet up with Puck and my Open Love NY and kinky unicorn friends. We marched through the East Village, down St. Mark's Street, chanting and waving our signs:


Spreading the Open Love NY message

A couple young women in front of me were marching topless (which is allowed by law regardless of gender) and a spectator angled in with a camera phone for a closer shot. Another marcher, dressed as Wonder Woman, got in his face, screaming "BACK OFF!!" repeatedly. Somebody yelled out "Wonder Woman saves the day!" The group of women marching with the topless women hugged and thanked Wonder Woman for her intervention.

When we got back to our starting point at Union Square for the rally, I met up with Storm and then Puck, and our kinky friends:

Mila and their Muppet - their shirt says "Muppets Against Rape Culture" or something like that

Unfortunately, the sky opened up and rain poured out, sending us to the subway, where we actually ran into Bellatrix by chance, saying a quick hi&bye before heading to lunch at Plataforma Churrascaria and settling into a major food coma back at the apartment.

In the early evening, we stopped in at Murray's apartment for the SlutWalk afterparty, but didn't stay long. We ended up at the Papacookie event, Puck's first time at one, and I brought my peanut sesame noodles to share:


We only stayed for the first performance, which was violinist Katt Hernandez, a pianist and Jonathan on the accordion. Puck was exhausted after the busy day and they were also starting to get sick, so we left about 11 p.m. Hopefully next time we'll get to stay longer and see more performances.


Sunday I started a reading project I've been wanting to do for a while, and that's to re-read the entire Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, which I own in four large Absolute Sandman editions, and read concurrently with The Sandman Companion by Hy Bender. This will, optimistically with my busy life, take me until the end of the year to complete, especially since the books are too bulky to read anywhere but home.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Free love letters

For me, October is a special month for a number of reasons. It's pagan new year (Samhain) on Oct. 31 and time for the cycle of the year to start anew. The weather is usually as perfect as it gets, and I love the smell of fall.

But most of all, I've come to realize that October is the month I most associate with my loved ones - past and present. I was first introduced to Puck on Oct. 4, 2008 at the Poly Pride Rally in Central Park. I first met Bonnie (and Hiba) on Oct. 20, 2009 at the monthly Poly Women's Group at the Westside YMCA. And the first time I met Tara, Buffy and Bug (my erstwhile family) in person was Oct. 14, 2005 at the Metropolitan Museum any in Wayne, NJ.

Coincidence? Maybe. But I wouldn't be surprised if I met someone new (or something happens with a person who is already in my life) this month that turns out to be the start of a new relationship.

Puck and I have our own traditions for celebrating our anniversary (our third this year) but I wanted to do something new to mark October as my own month dedicated to love. As you can see from this blog I am a pretty prolific writer, so I came up with an idea after reading this article in the Wall Street Journal: "Stationery's New Followers" - Aug. 25, 2011

I wanted to do something to celebrate love that didn't have anything to do with a specific person, like Puck for example. The idea of love is bigger than one relationship between two people - love is what binds us all together and the most powerful force for good we have in the world.

As longtime readers know, I'm also searching for my artistic path and I wanted to do something for the sake of art, without any other purpose or agenda beyond putting something beautiful out in the world. And since I'm lacking skills in the musical and visual arts, I don't think I can produce anything authentic in the areas of music, dance, sculpture, painting, etc.

My one skill that I've honed over my entire lifetime is my writing. It is my livelihood and occasionally has been used in the service of love, but rarely for art. I'm not a poet, although I've written a few poems in my life; none recently.

So here's my idea: for the month of October, I'm going to write a personalized love letter to anyone who requests one by sending me their mailing address. Everyone who gives me an address will get a letter - guaranteed - whether we've known each other a minute or a decade. Each love letter will be handwritten with liquid ink on cotton fiber paper (so as not to harm any trees) and sent via U.S. Mail - not by email, text, IM, Twitter or Facebook post. I'll even spring for international delivery for anyone overseas.

Your letter may be long or short, funny or sincere. It might be perfumed or decorated with a wax seal. It might recall some tiny, distant memory of our time together, or it might be five pages long if we have a history. It might be lyrics to a love song that reminds me of you. It could be a story I've always wanted to share with you, but never found the right moment to tell it.

But whatever it is, it will be honest, and it will be about you and me - and whatever is between us and how it relates to the experience of love. And for those moments it takes you to read it, you and I will share a personal and physical connection that is so rare in this fleeting digital world.

No response will be expected - the letter will be my gift to you, in honor of all the love that has found me in Octobers past. And obviously, requests received after Oct. 31 will have to wait until next year.