Sunday, July 21, 2013

Transportation and Theoretical Logistics

The summer adventure vacation is approaching.  I still have to work for another week, which is good since I need the money to pay for the vacation.  It's beginning to look like I'm going to blow a couple of the extra paychecks 100%, but it's not the first time I've blown a paycheck and, insha'allah, it won't be the last.

Once I made the appointment with Max for "Boost and Hair" which is what we've come to call my Cut & Color with ACIM mentoring on the side, the rest fell into place.  Now I just have to secure a ticket to Burning Man.   Research suggests that people all over the county who bought their tickets back in February will be discovering to their chagrin that they can't make The Burn after all and will, consequently, be trying to unload their tickets at the end of July.  I'm registered for STEP - secure ticket exchange program - since I wouldn't know a burning man ticket from a grocery receipt and have never bought anything on craigslist, anyway.  

I feel fairly confident - not fully, but fairly - confident that if anyone will be sleeping in the dust instead of in Pinko's air conditioned RV - it will not be me.  Pinko and I have been chatting via IM.  We still haven't talked on the phone, which is a little weird when you consider we'll be bunking together in roughly five weeks, but I prefer it.  Although chatting is immediate, you still have the opportunity to check yourself before you hit "send" so you can tailor the conversation to make yourself look like less of an idiot (theoretically).

In any case, from our virtual conversations, I've gathered that Seldom Seen was a pleasant interlude for Pinko, but that's about as far as it went.  It's nice that he exhibits lingering feelings of affection and responsibility toward her because it indicates that he's not a fucking asshole.  He may even be a gentleman, but having never met the man in person, I'm not willing to go that far yet.  Nevertheless, there are indications in our personal communication and in the facebook group that Seldom Seen is fully Last Year's Female.  The good news is that until last year, Pinko wasn't collecting females on the playa at all.

Apparently, he hasn't really been collecting females at all ever in his whole life although he's had a few substantive relationships.  I get the feeling he's kind of shy, but because of his job as a nightclub DJ, tipsy women hit on him.  These days, however, those women tend to be younger and looking for someone to straighten out their Daddy issues.  I wouldn't be surprised if Seldom Seen fell into that category.  From what I've heard, it sounds like she attached herself to him once The Man had burned and turned into a pile of glowing embers.  These burners like to extend the burning experience - in what they call the After Burn.  It's hard to say who was hanging onto whom as the ashes flew off in the wind, but he wound up storing all her camping stuff while she roamed around South America, and now he's toting it all back to the playa for her.

Meanwhile, he won't even meet me at the damn bus stop which is like 200 yards from the campsite.  

I'm not sure how far it is from the campsite to the little BRC air strip.  A girl always needs an exit strategy, and it's nice to know I can stomp off into the dust in a huff, grab a puddle jumper and fly off with the dawn if I feel like it.

"Intersection," installation by James Reagant and Charles Fields, 2010

I doubt such a course of action will be necessary.  The main thing is that Pinko and I have established that this episode is, in fact, a date.  He was evidently confused about my intentions because he's not sure how to interpret what's going on when a Nice Girl is being nice to him.  Typically, he thinks we're just being nice.  Given that he drives a taxi back and forth to a (legal) whore house, I can see how he might not have much experience in the land of Nice Girls - although certainly he must have run across Nice Girls in his travels.  Not lately, though.  Friday night, he took a coked-up stripper out to her boyfriend's place.  It was a roundtrip, so he made some good money and got a story out of it, too.  He's writing up the stories for a series over at called Scenes from the Toaster.  I don't know why the taxi is called a toaster, but it's got a sign for the whorehouse on top.

You'd think a taxi driver would be glad to pick up an old broad at the Burning Man bus stop - and it's possible he's fucking with me just because he can.  It doesn't matter in the slightest, however, since I'm getting plenty of milage of my own off this story about having a blind date at Burning Man.  I tried out the story on a waiter the other night when Nicole and I were having dinner after Drunken! Careening! Writers!  The waiter was so impressed he gave me a fist bump and said, "Say hi to Molly for me."

I feel guilty on account of Nicole and I kind of ditched Rex Visigothis - actually we were kind of merciless about leaving him to fend for himself at KBG - but we had girly things to discuss.  I can't remember what they were right now, but that's just how Nicole and I roll.   Once I get settled into the school year, she and I are going to start working on a segment I like to call Two Redheads Walk Into a Bar for the I Love Nicole Show.

Nicole being Tuff!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Burning, Hell and Texas

Many people have wondered if I would ever move back to Texas - and for a long time I thought it was the right thing to do.  That was before I did the math and saw that Conventional Wisdom might say that life in Texas is more affordable than life in the big city, but the reality is just the opposite.  When I first started cruising the Austin real estate ads a couple of years ago, I discovered that the house in Austin my parents bought for me to live in during college, which we sold in 1981 for $35,000, was for sale for $325,000.  It was a cute house in a good location, but considering that preschool teachers get paid less than $15.00 an hour in Texas, and half of the jobs are with academically oriented religious schools where I wouldn't work for $150 per hour or even $15,000 per hour - the financial equation in Texas made no sense.  I'd have made more teaching Pre-K in a public school, but the public schools there are still under the control of the Texas Taliban.

This same group of Christian Tyrants have now gone so crazy that my friends and family may be looking at my little home in Harlem as a safe house somewhere in the Land of the Sane.

I don't know all the legislative particulars, but over the last couple of weeks, the campaign to corral women's reproductive freedom has reached such a dramatic level of patriarchal intrusion that the cops in charge of security at the Texas Capital confiscated tampons and maxipads from women entering the gallery because tampons could be weapons - but people toting six shooters were perfectly free to wander the legislative halls (ThinkProgress). The thinking, if you can call it that, is that a big, strong, God-fearing man might need to shoot a crazy woman wielding a Tampax.

Women have every right to oppose this arrogant, ignorant foolishness - and not only because a bunch of bible toting white men are trying to enslave women as completely as they're hoping to enslave brown people in low-wage jobs.  Actually, everybody except the bible toting white men and their Stepford wives and concubines are supposed to be enslaved - and the concubines better behave or they'll be beaten with a buggy whip.  We have to remember here that white men in Texas prevented the slaves from hearing about the Emancipation Proclamation for several months - leading to the contemporary holiday Juneteenth which celebrates the day the slaves finally heard they had been freed.

Whatever with this patriarchal longing to return to the plantation - the real story, in my opinion, is that once abortions are so restricted that only women who can afford to pay privately (namely the daughters of rich white guys who get pregnant in high school, thereby fucking up the opportunity to marry her off in a way that increases the value of the family holdings) - Rick Perry's family will be making money off licensing private abortion providers.

Houston Chronicle,  July 5, 2013: Perry's Sister an Advocate for Surgical Centers

So anyway, the next time somebody wants to know why I'm not moving back to Texas, I'm showing them this shit.

Meanwhile, visions of Burning Man still dance in my head.  I had totally given up on the idea of going to Burning Man until my bosses distributed the calendar for next school year stating in writing on a chart that I don't have to report back to work until September 4.  As I have previously mentioned, I wouldn't be thinking about Burning Man at all except that I know this guy, Pinko the Bear, aka ABear, who sometimes acts like a recruiter for the Burn.

I was talking with Max the Psychic Life Coach and Hairdresser yesterday about the important issue of my hair and it turns out that Max was at the second Burn ever.  Actually, Max and I were talking about a lot of things, but the hair logistics are the strongest driving force behind the California trip.  Meeting Pinko at Burning is another.

A few weeks ago, right after the shifting work calendar cleared the way for Burning, this song woke me up:

We all know that when a song hits my brain so hard it wakes me up in the morning, it's sort of like getting a message from God, in Freudian terms. I couldn't place all that Ba De Ya - and frankly I thought the whole chorus was a bunch of Ba De Ya-ing. Since ABear is a career DJ, I reckoned he should be able to instantly identify Ba De Yas, and sure enough he was.

Now, Since the Man Burns on September 2nd, and I don't have to be back until the morning of September 4th - and since Pinko the Bear tosses out lures as if he were the Pied Piper of the Playa - I decided that the universe had sent me a message, and I was supposed to meet Pinko in the desert, much like Jake and Elwood were on a Mission from God.

Once Jake and Elwood get involved, Resistance is Futile. Nevertheless, resistance remains in the form of a female known as Seldom Seen:

Self-Portrait of Seldom-Seen in Bolivia
Apparently, she had a place in Pinko's RV long before anyone every thought of me going to Burning. She and Pinko have their own story, and it's not for me to tell, especially since I have minimal information and no details at all.  I just know his mother is glad to pick her up at the airport and have her as a guest in the family home.  All well and good since the point of meeting Pinko in the desert may have nothing to do with Pinko personally.  I just haven't shared a small space with a fucking couple since Tish and I were roommates in Maple Hall freshman year at North Texas State University.  More importantly, I am not remotely interested in shacking up with Seldom-Seen, and given that Pinko has made it clear that he prefers to keep his options open, I'm less inclined to open mine.

Which brings us back to my original point of resistance to this entire Burning episode - sex and accommodations.  My bloggy buddy Cali says not to stress over it because you can always find a place to rest among friends on the playa.  I suppose that if one arranges transportation to the playa by sitting on top of your duffle bag in a grocery store parking lot in Reno and jumping into the car with random strangers all determined to have a life-changing adventure, then plopping down anywhere in the dust is de rigueur.  As the Burners say:  In dust we trust.

The good news is that Pinko's friend Simmer, with whom I have just connected, is so chill and welcoming that it may be that the whole reason for the mission is so she and I can meet.  Pinko and Seldom Seen can remain his mother's concern, especially since I already have a kid.

When I have shared some of my concerns with Pinko, he has admonished me for thinking too much.  I maintain that action without reflection leads to just the sort of foolishness recently on display in the Texas State House, and no way in Hell am I going there.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Developing Skills

My experience of the Pride Parade is up at
The Last Sunday in June

The video segment is on Worldwide Hippies News & Stuff.  Joe/Winston starts introducing me at about 13:00

This WWH News installment includes a short video Joe suggested I make describing who I am and what I'm doing in under 30 seconds.  I liked that challenge because it's a good idea for anyone to be able to be able to describe what they're doing in under 30 seconds.  It's probably impossible to say who you really are in a few seconds, but for the purposes of Worldwide Hippies, the nuances of my identity are not required.

Overall, I prefer writing because (1) there's no time limits, although I'm committed to 1200 words or less in public venues and (2) I'm very much "Deer in the Headlights" on video which is kind of embarrassing.  However, it seems sensible to develop my skills in the video area since it will help me in all sorts of public speaking situations - like curriculum night, for example, and the parenting workshops I'll be conducting over the next school year.

Meanwhile, I'm beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by the entire prospect of August.  I have much to do at work during these next two weeks, but work is all good and if I'll focus on my work instead of fooling around on Facebook, I should be able to accomplish my assigned tasks admirably.  The minute camp is done and we lock the doors until September, things get busy.

I meant to do all the doctor stuff while I was working, but apparently every doctor and dentist in New York City leaves the office is keeping summer hours, so I couldn't get appointments until August when I could come during the morning.
I really want to finish up this year long excavation project in my mouth.  Hell, it may have been two years.  Getting dental implants is a long, drawn out process since you have to wait several months for bone grafts to solidify and whatever the hell else is required.  Having the cash is also required, and that slows down the process too.

So instead of being able to lounge around in my pajamas for a week, I have shit to do.  Then I'm going up to Vermont for the annual fair at Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp.  Fair is great and I haven't been since Velvet was a camper there years ago.

This photo is from the camp's own collection.  When Velvet was there, the fire was much cooler.  They built a dragon fire so that the first flames came out the dragon's mouth.  The staff kicks out the parents earlier these days too, but I think that's just as well.   Back when Velvet was a kid, the high school kids were drumming and dancing wildly around the fire in a way that freaked out the parents of the little kids.  There always seems to be some freaked out parents at Fair - once some guy was all bent out of shape because he saw two men walking with their arms around each other's shoulders.  They may not have even been openly gay, but even still, at the time Vermont was already trying to establish itself as a destination for gay marriages.
Some people are just Douchebags.
I've been quick to call people Douchebags for a couple of months now.  Don't know what that's about.

But anyway -
I'll be driving Velvet and Cupcake back into the city on the 15th, and that night at 7pm, I'll be reading at KGB.  Between now and then, I have to write that story down, but I've told it a number of times already.  It's the one about the day I had to cancel the Gemini party where I had invited all those gay porn stars because Buzz Kill found that story in the trash about the black man with the dick the size of a maglight (Sorry, Mom) and started causing a commotion.

That story led to the birth of PENolan since Buzz Kill was compelled to require in the divorce stipulation that I write under a pseudonym.  And Donna, whose birthday we are celebrating that night at KGB, was in the hallway outside our apartment door when Buzz Kill was throwing a fit about the first story.  So this story is the story of what happened after that story - and it features the birthday girl.

It's also cool because I've been cogitating on the differences and similarities between Tricia Real Name and PENolan.  You'd think we were exactly the same, but we're not.  It's like PENolan is my invisible friend who says and does things that I'm chicken about.  Tricia Real Name has gotten much stronger as a result of PENolan's mouthiness, however.  I've learned how to speak up to people I consider to be authority figures before I feel like crying.  It's a skill.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Assuming from the Internet

I'm supposed to be working on my piece about the pride parade for Worldwide Hippies News & Stuff, but I've been eating tamales from Trader Joe's and working on getting a ticket to Burning Man with Pinko.  Actually,  Pinko has been doing all the work.  For a nanosecond it looked like I had just gotten a ticket - but then there was some issue with the link due to the internal workings of the online ticketing system.  That's all good because I'm leaving this whole Burning Man thing in the hands of the Universe - which doesn't even have hands.

It has occurred to me that Pinko might be the "player" who is getting tired of playing I was thinking I needed a while back.  That thought occurred to me because of this photo on the internet which was taken at the turn of the century:

Photos often give us ideas about people - but the thing is that the moment captured in a snapshot may not capture the person at all.  To illustrate this point further, consider a photo I like to call, "Velvet and the Bitches."

For reasons I've never understood, boys Velvet's age were all into Pimping a couple of years ago.  Maybe they got it from Grand Theft Auto or something equally as goofy.  Velvet had dressed up as a fellow named Gaspard Auge´for Halloween.  He's in a band called Justice, ergo: Velvet was not pretending to be a pimp for Halloween.  Those girls weren't pretending to be Hos either.  I'm sure they're all nice girls with clean panties and good grades because Velvet has good sense in that area (and we all remember how I went on a tear about Gayle's panties some years ago (Stonerdate 02.16.08).

The point is that the only thing you might be able to tell about Velvet from this photo is that he's high.  If anyone looked at his grades that semester, they could figure out he was high.  For the record, this photo was taken in the dorm shortly before that fateful night at Hookah House when Velvet became King of the Halloween Party (Stonerdate 11.04.09) I'd say more about it now except it's come to my attention that my parents are reading the blog again, and Mother would choke on her coffee.  That would fuck up her mac, and we can't have that.

It's interesting, to me anyway, that about a week after this photo of Velvet was taken - when I went up to Treehugger U to find out exactly WTF was going on and drag his ass to the administrative offices where he was supposed to have gone a month earlier to arrange for all the tutors and note takers and whatever other services he was allegedly going to receive from Treehugger's office of Academic Success (which were so inadequate that somebody should really take them to court, but that's another story), Velvet told me over a Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's that he believed he was never meant to be an engineer.  He believed he was meant to be a DJ at raves.  As it happens, Pinko's career trajectory seems to have been directly influenced by being a DJ at raves.  So somehow, somewhere - there's something similar about Velvet and Pinko.

I am compelled to state that I am in no way interested in mothering Pinko.  For one thing, Pinko has a mother (I think.  He talks more about his dad, so maybe his mother has passed.  But either way, it's not my job), and (2) I grew out of being Wendy to Peter Pan back when I was in college.  I was cleaning the toilet at one of the Band Houses my buddies from High School inhabited when the garage band gigged at Raul's on the drag in Austin, Texas.  That house would have cured the Wendy tendencies in any young woman - but I was having a big Halloween party myself and if it's one thing I learned in college, it was never have acid parties at your own house (sorry, Mom).

Anyone who saw my grades that semester will know why I didn't really mind about Velvet's grades that particular semester at Treehugger.   The difference is that my GPA at the time was so high that I could get a 0.065 for the semester without my average dipping below a 2.5.  Velvet's GPA never reached 2.0 the whole time he was up at Treehugger.   Now that he's a liberal arts major and going to school here in town, Velvet makes As all the time.

We can all credit Cupcake for much of Velvet's recent academic success because Cupcake tends to all the administrative tasks that slip Velvet's profoundly ADD mind - such as registration and remembering passwords.  They are both working at the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp this summer.  Velvet had been gone all of three days when Cupcake was lamenting about missing Velvet so much to one of her girlfriends that the friend said, "Why don't you go visit?"
Cupcake said to her friend, "Why don't I work there?"  The Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp is perpetually understaffed up until the very last moment because most people don't want to live in cabins without electricity in the woods of Vermont to make very little money for working all summer.  Velvet had been spreading the word to his peers that they were looking for helpers in the kitchen.
Cupcake has now been working in the kitchen for a couple of weeks - but if I'm remembering correctly, the campers just arrived last weekend.

The point I'm making, though, is that you can't tell anything about the reality of someone by looking at random pictures on the internet.

I'm sorry to say that I don't have any pictures of me marching down Christopher Street toward Stonewall as a marshall in the LGBT Pride Parade last weekend with the Sirens Women's Motorcycle Club - but if there were a photo of me in that situation floating around the internet, some folks might get the idea that I'm a lesbian.  I don't care if they do.

It's hard to say whether or not that would enhance my chances at getting a date with a man in my demographic because some men always seem to think that they're capable of turning a lesbian straight with the power of their penises.  Some men are stupid.  In fact, so many men are so stupid that I quit dating all together.  The guy who reminded me of a Lawn Gnome comes to mind - but the point is that you can't tell anything about somebody from of a couple of pictures on the internet.  Lots of people some people at the Pride Parade thought Gigi was Harry Belafonte's daughter just because she's half black, beautiful and was walking by Harry Belafonte's car in the parade.

Harry Belafonte was a Grand Marshall this year, and as it happened, the cars for the Grand Marshalls were on the same block as the Sirens while everybody was lining up for the parade.  Harry Belafonte has been an inspiration to Gigi all her life.  I like him because of the Muppets and because he gives Obama the shit he deserves - but Gigi finds him an inspiration and her aura of calm authority is such  that Harry Belafonte's real daughters were grateful to discover someone who could support them during the chaotic, noisy pre-parade organizational moments as they got their daddy in the car.
He's pretty old these days and from where I stood, he looked a little creaky getting into the position on the backseat of the convertible.

Gigi is accomplished at assisting celebrities, and the next thing you know, she was off with Harry Belafonte and his grateful daughters.  I didn't see her again until after the parade was over because the Sirens ride before the Grand Marshalls.  We clear the street.  I did get a chance to say, "Hello," to Harry before the parade.  I took the opportunity to tell him we sing one of his songs to the kids at my school all the time.

I even got to sing a chorus of Turn the World Around with Harry Belafonte himself.
How cool is that? 
Harry Belafonte thought Gigi and I were partners.  Plenty of people are under the impression that Gigi is my daughter which is an assumption one of the technicians at our regular nail salon made back when Gigi and I were both red heads.  Just goes to show that when you know a little bit about someone, you really don't know shit.

Here's the backside of Gigi at the Parade:

Gigi was going to wear a rainbow bandana around her head - and she looked kind of like a cute little pirate in that little white dress (she's the one with the short, blonde hair).  She also looked enough like Butterfly McQueen to be concerned that Paula Deen may try to get her to work a plantation themed soiree.