Monday, February 18, 2013

A Little Pussy

Lee Camp (leecamp.net) wants us to think about this little pussy.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Joint Ventures

It's official - I'm going to start doing segments for Worldwide Hippies News again.   Joe and I will talk more about the details in the morning, but it's a Joint Venture between Menopausal Stoners and Worldwide Hippies, for sure.  I'm going to be back on the activist beat, but this time I want to focus more closely on folks who are organizing at the local level.  We'll see where that goes, though.  I'll be starting in early April, after spring break.

Joe, who takes care of everything over at the website (http://www.worldwidehippies.com), would like to have an image to open my segment - kind of like Looney Tunes cartoons always had.


Joe already uses Bugs Bunny to introduce Woody's part because Woody is often called Dr. John, since in real life he is John Konopac, PhD and his students used to call him Dr. John.   He also has prominent front teeth, so Bugs Bunny saying "What's up, Doc?" made sense.

Naturally, I want to have an image specially created for me for this very purpose.  Since Herb has been in advertising for decades and has his own little company up there in the woods with a blog attached that discusses Branding - I wrote to Herb asking for advice and invited him out for cocktails if he ever gets to the city.  He didn't respond.  The day before, he responded to an inquiry I made regarding some photos of him a friend posted on his timeline.  The response was cursory, but he made an effort.   It seems to me that getting served with divorce papers a couple of weeks ago really took the wind out of his sails.  I can understand somebody being so depressed that s/he sleepwalks through life for a period of time.  I've done it myself which is why I totally understand how, when you feel like that, somebody could throw you a life line and you wouldn't even notice.  Not that I was necessarily throwing him a life line.  I just wanted to have sex and see if it went anywhere.  Lots of times, sex leads nowhere.  I'm good with that.  I'm not interested in Hit and Run sex at this point in my life, but Herb didn't seem to be like that.

That's just my impression, however.  For all I know, he's surrounded by crunchy middle-aged beauties up there in the woods.  He could be getting laid every time he attends one of the networking mixers for the local art scene.  Most likely, though, if he were a pussy hound, he'd have already come around HQ looking to Hit It and Quit It.

Before he got the papers, Herb was open about feeling blue and heavy hearted, but he could keep up with a conversation and displayed some real interest.  A couple of times, I got the impression that he was just giving the right answer - like when I asked if he ever missed the city, he wrote a few lines of appropriate bullshit, including how he thought about moving back the last time he was here.  To me, that says he would consider coming down to the city to get laid every now and then.  His words rang hollow, but at least they were the right words.  Last week, he said he was looking forward to spring and stoked to be single.  That was bullshit, and sometimes you have to point out bullshit when you hear it.  

By the time I get to that point, I've generally got an attitude.  Once I start getting an attitude, things usually roll fairly rapidly downhill because Monty Python has made an indelible mark on the archetypes in my personality.  Whatever the original archetypal energy made have been, when it manifests now, the energy is filtered through the French Knight:




Once this character is involved, I've committed to a certain trajectory.

We'll never know how Herb experienced the resulting correspondence.  I certainly forgot it was Valentine's Day when I unfriended him on Facebook and told him why.  I meant to be measured, moderate and mostly impersonal.  His returning salvo opened with, "happy valentines day." I eventually apologized for unnecessary roughness, but in the process, he said he had plenty of sympathetic shoulders in his own neighborhood.  It's hard to tell whether someone is being nice or bitchy in emails.  Harder when you've never spoken to someone face to face, and both parties have been intentionally circumspect about their intentions.

Since he got the papers and revealed that his wife initiated the proceedings, I've begun to recognized shades of Buzz Kill.   Buzz Kill and I lived together for two full years after I served him with divorce papers.  Once he finally went home to mother, you could feel the pathos at 20 paces.  I have no idea how Herb feels in real life, but with a few simple clicks on Facebook, it's easy to land in a friend of friend's photos.  There's Herb in a Mr. Rogers sweater, posing with his wife in front of a Christmas tree with martini glasses in their hands.  They didn't look happy.

I still think it would do Herb a world of good to hang out in Harlem for a little while, relax and get to know each other.  If watching Buzz Kill's evolution since the divorce is any indication, a change of scene and habits is exactly what the situation eventually requires.  Sadly, that ship had sailed, in my view.  Herb's communications remained polite and appropriate to the end, saying again that he would like to meet me in real life someday, and that I seem great.   I suppose I could have said I would like that too - but I wound up saying I don't believe for an instant that he's really interested in meeting me in real life at all.

By the time I got off the bus yesterday morning at work, I had a song in my head again:



As I ran across Riverside Drive, I called The Man from San Antone.  I miss having a lawyer.

Now I'm going to be on Ruthann's show Akasha Live on Wednesday, participating in a round table discussion about collaboration and revolution, and an independent film crew will be using HQ for some location footage on Monday.  They were looking for a loft, but the neon sculpture in the dining room apparently gives the lighting a schizophrenic touch.  This all has something to do with Nicole's new room mate, a young film maker.  Nicole (I Love Nicole Show) and I will be the den mothers while the children work, and hopefully don't make too much noise.

Nicole is a red head too, and for some reason, when ever I think of us both together, I always hear the line:  Two red heads walk into a bar . . .

Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Existential Valentine - from the Menopausal Stoners archives


(Stonerdate 02.15.09)

I was afraid I might disappear like dandelion seeds in the breeze since this was the first Valentines' Day that I didn't have a boyfriend in 34 years.

I know, intellectually, that Valentines' Day is a Hallmark Holiday. Years ago, when I was working in public relations, one of my accounts was the Chocolate Manufacturers of America. I learned exactly how much candy was purchased per cubic inch of shelf space in America's grocery, variety and convenience stores during this annual sales bonanza.

I also know, intellectually, that I don't need other people to prove I exist. Validation is too small of a word for the phenomenon because in order for something to have value, it must first exist. I'm pretty sure this trouble can be traced back to my emotional gestalt being fucked up. Throw in societal conditioning and marketing trends and voila! The damage is done.

We can throw in media images of beauty if you want to really seal the coffin - but you still have to exist before you need a coffin. If I'm not mistaken, you can exist without being beautiful but it sucks. Ask Janis Ian.

This existential dilemma cannot be purely a feminine phenomenon given that Dean Martin sang, "You're nobody til somebody loves you," and he is certainly a man. Some man can explore that territory, however, because I'm celebrating my own existential victory here.

Recently, it's become clear that I'm single by choice. I'd still be hanging out with That Narcissist if he weren't such an unpleasant individual. Since I needed someone to authorize my existence, being a narcissistic supply source was a perfect gig except that once Narcissists know you care about them, they start treating you like shit. He may have spent a lot of time with me which he says showed how much he enjoyed my company, but his attitude was so tacky that being around him got to be a drag -- especially when he joined me in Austin. The Narcissist gave advice to a comic at The Velveeta Room as if watching Seinfeld made him an expert on comedy. It was mortifying, but I'd seen him act like a complete asshole before.  There's something socially acceptable about being a complete asshole in New York City.

Since my identity has been defined all these years by being in one relationship or another - needing your mother's approval is another example of the external validation - and since The Universe will continue to send harsher and harsher teachers to make sure we learn our lessons before we can progress to the next level,  a narcissist must have been necessary to my process. What set That Narcissist apart from other boyfriends is that he is such a cartoon in real life that I could finally say, "hold on a dang minute," to the entire process and break the pattern.

What good is having your existence authenticated by another person if that person is a complete asshole? I don't need some asshole to tell me I exist. In fact, I never really needed anyone to confirm my existence - none of us do. But plenty of people rely on external sources to quantify their worth.

As my fiftieth birthday approaches, I'm enjoying a bit of solitary peace and quiet for a change. With Velvet leaving the nest soon, I can finally discover what it means to exist outside of a relationship. I'll always be a daughter and a mother, a friend, a teacher and even an ex-wife. I want to exist independently too. I suppose I already do. When he's describing Sowelu in The Book of Runes, Ralph Blum says, ". . .what you are striving to become in actuality is what, by nature, you already are."

Some rune masters think Ralph Blum is full of shit, but I always liked this idea.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Perception and Presentation of Self in the Everyday Life of the Internet


According to Taoist astrology:

The year of the Serpent is a time of introspection, planning, and seeking answers. People will ponder and think before they act. Good taste and elegance will prevail in fashion, theatre, film, and all the arts. Serpent wisdom influences contributions in the sciences through new technological inventions and discoveries. But this is not an auspicious year for gambling, investing, or taking any financial risks because the calamities of the previous Dragon year can continue into Serpent year. Expect political extremes, scandals, and the exposing of secrets. (h/t Debra, She Who Seeks)

Today (or yesterday) it's a new moon in Aquarius, which means looking at the Big Picture according to Tom at New Paradigm Astrology.  Tom is talking about the big picture behind our personal relationships because by understanding the big picture, the little picture we each experience individually becomes clearer.  We have an opportunity to shift our own perspective so that we're not undermining our own happiness in that department.

While I was pondering pictures big and small, the Artist in the Woods said he'd morphed my Facebook profile picture for his project (fbfcu from funism).  I was already aware of the project, and was interested to see how I turned out because Herb's sort of illustrates Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, a concept that's been in the spin cycle over here in the Triciasphere for some time, most recently in the context of mirrors, reflections and filters.   I may actually read Goffman's book some day, but for now, I'll just keep looking at the pictures.  Herb emailed me this image:
My first thought was:  Jeez! You can really tell I just got my hair colored in the one on the right.  Then I learned from Herb that the one on the left is a different person entirely.  Even though my assumption that everything I see is all about me was a bit embarrassing, I was relieved because I thought he'd shuffled through my old photo albums on Facebook and compared this photo:


with my current profile pic: 


Sometimes, I'm a little embarrassed by the Shiner beer photo.  Other times, it makes me feel powerful.  The Rebbe Mohammed McCrory took the photo around 2008, maybe, and she's good at taking flattering photos.  A couple of years ago, I posted it on FB because  Joe, over at Worldwide Hippies and I were exploring an idea he called Tits & Activism.   The tagline at Worldwide Hippies was Changing the World, One Mind at a Time, and we were getting tired of preaching to the choir.  We needed a few new minds to influence.  We thought that when people who typically ignore Social and Political analysis and commentary saw Tits on the internet, they might follow the link and read the first few lines of an article.  We weren't thinking about changing the minds of any teabaggers - just getting the attention of people who typically care more about tits and beer than about climate change, for example. 

The thing about the Tits photo, at least from what I learned on Match dot com, is that a lot of men see the tits and don't read a damn thing.  They get other ideas, apparently, and it makes them stupid.  That's why the photo makes me feel powerful sometimes.  I like to imagine the voice of the Goddess saying, "Behold the Matriarchy" and it makes all those dumb asses sit down and shut up.  It can be particularly confounding to men who see the photo after getting into an argument with me over politics, social justice or feminism in particular.  Must be something about the juxtaposition of tits and opinions.  In some gestalts, the two are mutually exclusive.

In any case, when my buddy Nicole  (I Love Nicole Show) took the photo of me in the green shirt, I had just gotten my hair colored.  Looking at it recently on FB, I noticed that my scalp looked weird at the top of my forehead - which will happen when somebody's just gotten his or her hair dyed red.  After a week or two, and a couple of thorough washings, that red glow fades into something more along the lines of Irish Setter Red which I enjoy.  I'm not sure I enjoy the radioactive quality in the pixelated version.


Since my entire forehead is not glowing red in the original snapshot, I suspect the color morphed somehow during the pixelating process.  So now, the radioactive red is open to interpretation and can mean anything.  For example, we could speculate that my Kundali energy rises so strongly that a red glow pops erupts from my skull.  Or maybe I've absorbed energy from Archangel Uriel that vibrates on the red frequency.  Or maybe I'm just hot headed sometimes.  It doesn't really matter because the observer's perspective determines what is seen - whether it's a hairdresser, a yoga teacher, a doctor,  your friendly neighborhood alchemist or a total stranger.  When you start throwing Quantum stuff into the mix, there's no telling what the spin cycle could produce - especially in the Triciasphere.

Once I got done ruminating on Herb's presentation of my self, I remembered the pictures that the lovely and talented Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein, aka Steve Denton, photoshopped for use in his graphic novel, Hip Deep Mountain High.  As it happens, the Rebbe took those pictures too. I was supposed to be a boozy milf, but my character morphed into a small town hooker with a heart of gold.  An excellent morph that was fully based on Doctor Monkey's perspective.


In this frame, Linda Pepsi-Johnson is telling a young fellow who thought he was getting a freebie to think again.  I wasn't so sure what I thought about the images of me the Doctor used in the graphic novel either since I was trying to look like a hot tomato and Woody Konopack said I looked like a Meth Head.  Meth Heads are consistent with the setting of Hip Deep Mountain High, so I wasn't so worried about that.  I was more concerned because the way the Doctor accentuated my cleavage felt awkwardly and alarmingly intimate.  A little twisted and/or perverted.  As it happens, the Doctor MVM is a little perverted in the most endearing way, so the whole experience was warm and fuzzy even if my mother was momentarily distressed.  

I was a bit uncomfortable to find my self objectified and plastered on the internet as a hooker, but  there's not much difference in that and the Tits photo whether it's used for Tits & Activism or for testing male response on  on Match dot com - either way, I objectify my own self which is what we do to one degree or another on Match dot com, or on Facebook and even in blogs like this one where people become characters in stories that are generally called Creative Non-Fiction.  We are characters in the stories we tell ourselves in our own heads, too.  Some would argue that all those stories morph in a way that blurs reality and fiction - which brings us back to Presentation of Self and Images by Herb.

Even though Herb didn't pixelate his own FB profile picture, his real self remains an indistinct blur which is, I suppose, the point of the project Proximity and Distance.  In some ways, I'm still curious about the Artist in the Woods, but over time, it's become increasing clear romance isn't happening.   He says he's "stoked" to be single, but he doesn't act like any man I have ran across on the internet who is stoked to be single.  Those guys inevitably make some kind of suggestive remarks even when they're not particularly interested in the woman to whom they are being suggestive - like the professor at the little college in New England who friended me simply to indulge in a little racy flirtation while he was grading papers (Archetypes and Internet Romance, Stonerdate 12.19.10).   

Herb's correspondence is so remarkably neutral that if he's interested in me at all, it's just as a friend.  Like those friendships where the guy is more like a girlfriend, or an androgynous confidant.  So platonic that one or both of us might as well be gay.  My high school friend, Cretin Vodka, fell into that category and it's generally a great category.  Before he became fiercely infatuated with me during his last divorce, Rhet started calling him Flounder - like Flounder and Ariel, not Flounder in Animal House (Matters of Trust, Stonerdate 11.18.09).  He was persistent, and eventually mightily pissed at me, with some justification I'll admit.  About a year after a huge, emotional blow-out, he got married to somebody he met on Match (I think), which supported my position that he didn't have lasting feelings nearly so much as he was projecting a fantasy onto me.  It happens. 

Maybe I was projecting a fantasy onto the Artist in the Woods, too.  As long as we're all distorted, filtered images on the internet, we exist only as perceptions and projections anyway.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Reflecting on Reflections

I may wind up getting styled and pushed onto a runway next week during "fashion week" for the Direct Action Fashion Show at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space.



The New York Times called MORUS an, "East Village Shrine to Riots and Radicals."  I believe they thought that was an insult.  My dear friend Sheila is the volunteer publicist for MORUS. Pretty much everyone is a volunteer at the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space because like most "radicals," they don't have any money.  Sheila wrote a great letter to the editor of The NYTimes, eloquently explaining how they were corporate dickheads.  They didn't publish it, of course, most likely because everyone already knows they are corporate dickheads.  Old News.

Who knows?  Maybe my new boyfriend will find me at the fashion show.   If I'm reading the signs correctly, Herb isn't remotely interested in me.  Since his wife served him with divorce papers just over a week ago, I'm assuming he's drowning in his own personal hell.  It happens.  Could be he's surrounded by females up there in the Exburban Art Scene and doesn't need to look any farther than the school parking lot or local diner.  Could be he doesn't have the strength or the inclination.  Either way, it's not happening though - so I may as well walk my best walk on the Lower East Side with a bunch of young, enthusiastic revolutionary minded artists.  I love the intersection of Art and Activism anyway.

Meanwhile, the Restoration Project continues.  It took longer than anticipated to restore my bank account, so Contractor Andy hasn't walked through the door since I moved in on December 13th.  That's just as well because I've been able to unpack and get settled at an enjoyably leisurely pace.  He'll be back in a couple of weeks to finish the kitchen and bathroom - and somebody has to repaint the woodwork because somebody touched it up with Ceiling White instead of semigloss Decorator White.  You don't notice it from a distance, though.  Here's the china cupboard:


When Mother gets here in March, we're going to put wallpaper on the back walls inside the cupboard.  A lively print that's sort of like the painting on one of my favorite things - a little chicken pitcher I got  years and years ago at William Sonoma.  It's on the counter at the moment.


The tile for the backsplash is 3/4" mosaic in shades of denim blue that will pick up the blue flecks in the counter top.  Andy has to install a shelf under the cabinets and another under the electric meter, and once that's done, I'll move the fan that's currently on top of the pantry by the stove to the shelf that will be under the electric meter.  I figure I'll make a shrine to electrical power since fossil fuels will be the death of us all, sooner or later, one way or another - especially now that the link between fracking and fertilizing GMO agriculture has been firmly established (Mother Jones 01.30.13)  I find out about stuff like Fracking, GMOs, Kill Lists, Ecocide, and what's on sale at One King's Lane on my computer.



I brought that mirror on the wall behind the computer up from Texas when I first moved to New York back in the mid-80s.  According to what I've read about Feng Shui, your desk really should face toward the room somehow so that people can't surprise you by walking up from behind.  The correction is a mirror.  But I like the mirror there because it reflects my real image, which is filtered in my psyche and posted somewhere on the internet.  Selected Presentation of Self In Everyday Life (Goffman, 1959).  As it happens, I was born in 1959, when Goffman wrote that book.  Woody thinks it's a brilliant book, and I'm sure it is - from the 40 pages or so that I actually read.  It's painfully dry even though the premise remains pertinent today.  The Punk Patriot gave me this sticker when he was here during Occupy working on American Autumn: An Occudoc.  It remains pertinent, too.  It's on the right side of the desk.



One of Velvet's self portraits, circa 1996, is on the left.  It counts as presentation of self, too, although art may not count as everyday life.  When I get around to it, I'll get a nice poster frame and hang it on the wall.  Meanwhile, it can rest there in the corner.  In some ways, you could say that Velvet himself is a reflection of myself.  

I like the way the size, color and content of Velvet's drawing balance this neon sculpture by Ben Livingston, who we all used to call BeNeon.  He's friends with my brother, was at my wedding and still lives in Austin, Texas.



The sculpture was originally part of a set of three masks which my parents bought from Ben long before he was famous.  Long before he went to India for some kind of ayurvedic treatment to detox all that mercury from his system, too.  Mother says that Ben wished the masks would remain together as a set, but artists' wishes are often ignored.  My parents gave one to me, one to my brother and one to my sister.  My sister's is now at my parent's house in Houston because my brother-in-law the theoretical physicist doesn't want the toxic particles in their domestic atmosphere.  He won't live around overhead power lines, either.  Strange, electromagnetic stuff happens around power lines.
Personally, I don't care about electromagnetic shit from art or from microwave ovens - but overhead power lines are just ugly.  More importantly, Ben's neon mask reminds everyone in my own domestic environment that we present a mask to the world daily through the personas constructed by our egos - and hopefully our real self, or our essential spirit, shines through that public persona like the light shining from Ben's art.  Here's a close-up:


Here's the chandelier, with many little artifacts hanging from the metal tulips:



My favorite (besides Granny's love beads) is still Tinkerbell because she's not only magic, with copious amounts of fairy dust,  she's also capable of very bad behavior.   Of all characters in every fairytale I've ever heard, I'd like to be Tinkerbell.  Here's the stuff on the window sill.  Flowers, a marble Ganesha and his buddy Hunuman, the Monkey King, a little dish of chocolates from Cafe Luxembourg, ceremonial candles (99 Cent store variety), and a replica of a little stained glass window by Frank Lloyd Wright that was a wedding present from some friends of my parents.


The window sill must be another example of my tendency to create Little Altars Everywhere.  I really should read that book by Rebecca Wells since I really do have little altars all over the place.  There's another one in the living room - also with a mirror.  I'm satisfied that I like the mirror there so I'll probably get Velvet to hang it on the wall pretty soon.


I found that dresser in the trash outside my former home on Central Park West.  As it happened, my parents were there at the time and my mother refinished it herself using some smelly stuff out on the terrace.  The mirror was a wedding present from one of Buzz Kill's friends, but I kept it.   There's also one of those little Angel-Go-Rounds people typically reserve for Christmas, but I like having mine out all the time, a buddha we got in India, a candle Gigi brought back from her trip to Spain, a vase that was a sample in Buzz Kill's old showroom, a mister from Gwendolyn Holden Barry, my alchemist friend whose sells her blends at Daughters of Isis/Ancestor Aromachologie, and a ceramic wall piece of the Tortoise and the Hare, which I've never once hung on a wall.


No doubt about it, I'm loving the new HQ.  I especially love being so close to work that it takes roughly 20 minutes to get from my own kitchen to the coffee pot in the teachers' lounge even when I do need to wait a little while for the bus on Broadway.  One of these days, I really will manage my morning time well enough to walk - which would probably take 30 minutes if I didn't dawdle.  Being close to work has always been a high priority for me - but it's becoming even more important these days since Climate Change will certainly start fucking up my commute.  

Now that Velvet and I are establishing roots in Harlem, both work and home are on high ground.  There are two bus depots in the neighborhood, so when we have another extreme weather situation like the Hurricane, the buses will be handy for us.  Our subway service was among the first to be operational too.  Once you get below 42nd Street, though, you're literally sunk.  South Ferry is still fucked up - and like many people living in the 212 area code, I have no idea what's happening in the boroughs.  I'm pretty sure they're still fucked too.  Actually, given that the US has no official intention of changing our consumption habits with an eye toward a sustainable life style - so that we'll continue to suck down way more than our fair share of resources and destroy the environment every which way we can - Climate Change will be fucking up commutes from sea to shining sea.

Graphic from EarthJustice.org

It won't be pleasant, but I still believe that once this empire has finally collapsed, all the innovative thinking The Establishment has been ignoring for decades will flourish - necessity being the mother of invention and all that.  I just hope war and ecocide don't turn the planet into Book of Eli or Mad Max.  It could happen, though.

As Scarlett always says, "I'll go crazy if I think about that now."  Whatever happens in the world, I'll remain focused on creating a harmonious environment at home and in my classroom.   To do that, I need to be internally harmonious since it's all a reflection of self anyway.  For me, that means being able to curl up with a good book.


Or enjoying the view from the window by my desk.  The red brick buildings across the street look nice with the snow.


I image it will be very nice when the trees start to flower in the spring, then leaf out in the summer and change colors in the fall.  


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