Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Subliminal sublimation.

Lately I've been thinking I'm not a submissive anymore.

WAIT!!! STOP!!! Don't go getting carried away. I'm still a "boy" and a leatherboy at that. There are many different elements that make up boys and being a sub is not necessarily part of it.

However, I haven't been feeling particularly submissive lately. In fact, when my sub friends mention asking permission to do this or that, I find myself getting rather irritable. How dare anyone tell my friends what to do? Nevermind that my friends have actually sought this out; my gut reaction is to correct the injustice.

I wasn't always this way. Just a few years ago I was glad to submit myself in a whole variety of ways, and I found it very hot. I'd stand with my hands behind my back and I'd walk a step behind in public. I wore my collar constantly, taking it off only to shower because I didn't want to ruin the silver.

Back then some of my friends did not understand the submission. No matter how much I explained it, they could not get on board with my decision to be "less than." This used to frustrate me, but now I understand where they were coming from. How things change.

I wonder whether I'll ever go back to it. I imagine I will when it comes to sex. It's not such a big deal to be the sub in a scene. Perhaps I've become the kind of boy I used to mock, the kind who is only brave enough to submit in bed.

I don't think I'll be mocking that kind of boy any more. I'm also not sure anymore that it's a lack of bravery which brings me to this place. It takes balls to grow up.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

New Millenium Meta: Blogging about Blogging.

Last weekend was lots of fun. Thanksgiving was a blast, with every kind of special moment and disaster that you'd expect from such a holiday. There were grandly gay decorations and there were grand topplings of such. There was new family love and there was blood family guilt. There was fantastic food and a giant mess that required a bulldozer to clean up. Who could ask for anything more, really?

Saturday McJock arrived for a visit. Naturally I had an insane morning and afternoon which left me exasperated and irritable. Fortunately my intuition that he and I would be comfortable with each other was fully borne out. It took no time at all for me to be curled up under him on the bed (with our clothes on--such dirty minds you have!) and a little bit of that cuddly action went a very long way towards cheering me up.

I was a touch concerned that our interests were going to be too disparate for us to enjoy Saturday night out on the town. He was very interested in gay clubs in my neighborhood of which I had never heard and had no knowledge. He flipped through HX and Next (local gay rags) looking for ideas, and I consult neither of these publications when I'm going out, or any other time for that matter.

But as usual my narrow view of things was laughably inappropriate and my prejudgments were misapplied. We talked about music and I asked specifially what the "electroclash" genre sounds like. As it turns out, I'm a big fan and I even have some of it in my iTunes already. Who knew? Then he decided that he'd like to hear Larry Tee (the "father" of electroclash) spin at Element. I've not been to Element but I was fairly sure that it was far too gay for me. I simply have zero patience for the attitude and shallow-ness that are the prevalent themes of such places. If it matters to you what brand any item of clothing or accessory I'm wearing is, even for a moment, then we're probably not going to be comfortable in the same room. And there were a ton of boys there to whom it did matter. Frankly, it's funny, they pretty much all looked the same. Boring. And then there are the usual pitfalls of going to dance clubs with someone you don't know well: am I paying too much attention to my guest, or not enough? Am I dancing too close or too strangely? Are either of us drinking too much? There are just so many more things that can go wrong in such a place than in...say...a restaurant, coffee shop, neighborhood bar, or even the Eagle. Danger Will Robinson!!! But I need not have been concerned. The club had all of the drawbacks listed above, plus a $20 cover and $10 mixed drinks (fucking cheese on a fucking cracker--I am not that kind of fag!) and I still had a really good time. As usual, I spoke to not a single other soul there other than McJock, but he and I vibed really well. We wanted to dance at about the same time. We wanted to rest at about the same time. He didn't mind my spastic dancing. I thought his dancing was very fun in a vaguely butch way. And the music was fantastic. Really and truly some of the best I've heard at a club in a very long while. least the first half. Later when the crackheads showed up and the place really got packed Larry Tee began to play remixes of Justin Timberlake and Nellie Furtado, which I'm told are beneath him and not normally his style, but which he must endure to keep the masses happy.

It's really sortof sad that the majority of fags, after seeking out a life on the fringes of society, must insist on such mainstream music. Boring!

But I was very glad we went. I enjoyed McJock and I enjoyed a club and a DJ who I otherwise would never have discovered.

And the rest...well, that's the thing. I'm not sure how much to write. McJock reads my blog, and I'm glad, because there's a lot here about me that I'd like to share. I asked and received his permission to blog about him. But I'm not sure how much I want to tell. My writing would be influenced by my audience (as all writing should be) and I'm certain I don't want to make this blog into a place where I pull punches or color things in an effort to influence anyone. I've actually done that before. My former Daddy made me write a blog which was supposed to be a journal that only he would read. It was awful. It basically became a way to communicate directly with him, rather than a clearinghouse for my thoughts and opinions. Toward the end most of my posts consisted of song lyrics, all of which were very important and significant, but none of which he bothered to understand. True, there's not a single Tori lyric that can be interpreted in any straightforward way, but he didn't even read generalities.

So for now I will hold my cards close, though nearly every one of my many personalities is demanding to shout its thoughts from the nearest mountaintop. All of me loves to babble.

I'm writing a book. It will be called "Blog Ethics" or "That Day When the Everybody-Knows-You Internet Decided that Discretion Really Does Have a Purpose."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Waxing Poetic

So here's the thing: sometimes I miss Kansas. WAIT!!! STOP!!! Don't you dare go reading anything into that. As has recently been made clear, and as Madonna so eloquently put it, I love New York. I don't want to move back to the Midwest. Not even a little bit.

However, I do think fondly of Kansas sometimes. It's nostalgia, I suppose. I spent nearly 29 years there, and after driving those highways for a decade and half, it's hard not to remember every hill and curve. A lifetime of shopping at the same malls and convenience stores, going to the same restaurants, and seeing the same downtown skyline in the distance leaves an imprint that is not so easily erased.

My memory is a funny thing. When I focus on something and really pay attention to it, I can remember nearly everything about it. No, I don't mean I have a photographic memory. I wish. What I mean is that my brain absorbs visual input and spacial relationships at an incredible rate, along with certain other details that happen to catch my attention. I can say with near certainty whether I have ever laid eyes on any given person, though I'm not nearly so good with names. I never forget what make and model of car someone drives; in fact, I used to know the tail light configuration of nearly every modern model on the road. If I'm paying attention when going somewhere, I can repeat the route reliably every time.

While some people have an internal monologue, I have internal video. It's not creative video; I'm not good at visualizing what things could look like, I'm good at remembering what they did look like. And I can call that up pretty much whenever I like. It's my own personal Google Earth.

Lately I've been thinking of KC. Coming into the city from the West, as I did a thousand times while driving in from Topeka, you can see the downtown KCMO skyline from miles away. It peeks out at you from between the hills on the North side of the Kaw (Kansas) River, along which I-70 runs. All the major freight trains also run along that route between I-70 and the river. As you approach downtown, the train lines expand into train yards, wide swaths of tracks bathed in a hundred thousand floodlights, running between power and manufacturing plants, down in the valley below the highway. Somewhere around the 18th Street Expressway the train bottoms are so visible that they become their own river of twinkling lights, running on toward downtown, which rises up from them at the junction of the Kaw and Missouri rivers. The glass tower of One Kansas City Place presides over the shimmering crystal mountain, keeping watch over the Power & Light building as its art deco top is bathed in alternate colors of light, and supported around the edges by smaller buildings such as the four concrete towers of Bartle Hall suspending the convention center over the mad conflagration of I-70, I-670, and I-35. The Bartle Hall support towers were crowned by some artist's futuristic metal sculptures which shine beams of light in all directions, three small ones and one large on the tower closest to the center of the city, and these alien spaceships grin back at you, looking ready to launch into the sky at any moment. Beyond the valley to the South of the main skyline there's a hill that struggles to steal glory from downtown, and on it rises the lone monolith of the Liberty Memorial, the country's only World War I memorial, which smolders with red fire at its apex hundreds of feet in the air, supported by a giant stone angel at each compass point and forever burning in memory of people long forgotten.

I've seen that view perhaps tens of thousands of times. The first time I can remember was riding in the back seat of my mother's car as we crossed the Kaw on the 7th Street Viaduct. It was only a little different then, with a few less towers and alien spaceships, but it was no less amazing. I can see it just as clearly in my mind's eye right now, immune in this view from the distorting tears it struggles to pull from my eyes.

Yes, sometimes I miss Kansas.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hey, I'm walkin' here!

So, let me just get this out of the way quickly: McJock (see below) is coming to visit from Philly. I'm completely thrilled and looking forward to it. We've been exchanging emails and talking on the phone. He's incredibly sweet, smart, and thoughtful. We seem to have some interests in common, such as electronic music. He definitely gets me hot and bothered. At the very least I think I've made a new friend, and anything else is bonus. And that is all I will babble, lest I embarrass myself!

It's funny, in the past few months I've begun to really feel like a New Yorker. There are upsides and downsides to that.

On the downside, I actually yelled, "get the fuck out of the way!" to a car that was blocking the crosswalk when I had the green light. A window was open so I know the driver heard me, though he did as I demanded and quickly moved on, so I'm not sure if he flipped me off or anything. It was just a tiny explosion, completely unplanned, and I shocked myself more than a little. I walked the rest of the way home bemused. I'm definitely more abrasive than I was as a meek Midwestern boy.

On the upside, I've been out of my apartment a lot. Jink told me about the old NYC chicken and egg question: do New Yorkers have small apartments because they're always out or are New Yorkers always out because they have small apartments? I certainly can't answer that, but I've been out nearly every evening lately, and it feels good. I spent most of my first two years here moping in my apartment, so I think this is a definite improvement.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Weekend with the Sister

Blogging every day is a lot harder than it sounds! I think I need to be more succinct. I just finished the Philly weekend report and I've already had another whole weekend in between.

So here goes:

Friday, out on the town with my sister and her gorgeous boyfriend. He's not at all my type, but he has these classic good looks that made me do double takes every time I'd catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye. Freaky. Sister was as difficult as ever. I love her because she's just like me. Except less refined and experienced. She'll be a hell of a cruise director one day. We went to the Buzzcock party at the Eagle. Boyfriend was quite interested in the skinhead porn being shown on the big screen. Seriously. We all kept catching him looking. After that we headed to Batcave, the goth club, with Spiky, SkinC, and BabyB. Boyfriend and sister weren't very into it, I think, as they didn't dance. They soon headed off to do their own thing and I danced the night away with my boys. Spiky and BabyB came back to crash at my place at like 4am and Spiky headed home after we chilled out for a bit.

BabyB and I had to get up hella early and go to Rock Center to get M&M's in the colors of the leatherboy pride flag (hunter green, red, white, and black). I work at 30 Rock during the week, and I always complain about the tourists, but let me tell you it's FAR worse on the weekends. We mistakenly bought $60 worth of M&M' was all in bulk so we couldn't back out of it once we'd filled our bags. I'm still catching heat from the club for that one, and justifiably, though the message has been received.

Then BabyB and I headed over to GMSMA's Leatherfest at The Center. Jink and Rare had put together an excellent table for the club that was perfected by our M&M's. The event overall was a lot of fun! Big L was there with his clan I flirted furiously with him. When all was said and done, I decided to just head home, as I was exhausted. Sister was doing her own thing all day, so I just crashed at home for all of Saturday evening.

Sunday I got up and went to church at Smoky Mary's. I just love that place so much. Once again, I'm agnostic. But services there just make me happy and the organ is exceptional. I'm glad I found the place.

Met sister, boyfriend, Jink, and Spiky for gay brunch at Boxer's. There was a big sign that Boxer's lost their lease!!! Much sadness, as it was our new favorite place for gay brunch. We had a nice one otherwise, after which sis and bf headed off again, and I went butch man shopping at Dave's with the boys. I chilled at home some more, hung out with Rare for a while, tried to get my cable modem working (HATE TIME WARNER), and then headed down to meet sis at the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked across said bridge and had pizza at Grimaldi's, the best pizza in NYC according to almost every authority. Boyfriend got us lost on some pier access road which was actually below the highway that runs along the East River. It's the only time I've ever felt a little nervous in NYC...there was absolutely no where to go if anything bad would have happened. It was fine though, so I didn't have to kill him. We hopped on the train and headed back up to Times Square, where we said our goodbyes.

It was super weird saying goodbye to my sister. Walking home, the past two years really came crashing down on me. It's crazy what I've done with my life. I uprooted myself from Kansas and came halfway across the country for a crazy relationship that didn't work out. My best friend in Topeka died a lot earlier than he would have had I stayed (no way to know that for sure, but I believe it in my bones). I've been through the ringer in NYC. I've also met some amazing people and made some very close friends. I don't know what it was...I guess I just normally don't stop and consider everything that has happened. I don't regret any of my decisions, but I don't think I realized at the time how momentous the really were, at least to my little life. I cry too often and too easily lately, and rarely from sadness.

So that was this weekend. This blog post is no shorter than those before, so I guess I don't have the hang of "succinct" just yet. I'll work on it.

The rest of the story...

So Philadelphia is much more that crappy churches.

John lives there, which is why I go to visit every few months. John rocks. He's kinky but oddly averse to all things leather. I don't even think he likes me to wear it, though gawd knows that doesn't stop me.

John and I met on AOL ages ago...I guess it was...what? 2002? That doesn't seem long enough ago. Maybe 2001. (It's a good thing I'm writing this journal, I've forgotten most of my life at this point and more slides down the drain every day.) We used to have long involved chats while we were both at work. Eventually I flew from KC to Philly to visit him and we got along very well. It was just good fortune that landed me so close to Philly. With my visits with Justin and Scott becoming less and less frequent (hell, Justin never has come to NYC) John really qualifies as my oldest friend who I see regularly.

John has the most adorable little house in Center City. It must have been built 200 years ago or something. Benjamin Franklin's best blow buddy up the block probably lived there when they were kids. It's three stories tall but still not much bigger square footage-wise than a two-bedroom apartment. The stairs are steep and treaturous; people were tiny back then! He lives right in the middle of the gayborhood, and for all that NYC is pretty much gay all over, I'm a tad jealous. He has a very friendly feeling neighborhood gay bar and restaurant only two blocks away which I really like. In Hell's Kitchen we have gay bars and gay restaurants, but rarely do the two meet. This one is very traditional-looking, dark, and very comfortable. I'd go there all the time if it was in my 'hood.

But John has been making new friends lately, and they're pretty damn cool, as evidenced by the fact that they like to hang out in this very sleazy dive bar called The Post. The Post has strippers wandering giving lap dances and such. The Post allows smoking indoors even though it's been outlawed in Philly. The Post is low-ceilinged, dark, and vaguely dank, which makes it right up my alley.

Anyhow, so we're sitting in the bar, and I'm looking cute and charming all of John's friends, when in walks this hunk of man. The arms on this guy! You should have seen him. And his face was quite charming as well, in a sortof-innocent kind of way. Like real innocence, not the fake BS that boys in Chelsea think they fool everyone with. I mean he looked like he'd never said a bitchy word about anyone, and like maybe despite the fact that he was gorgeous he might not have an attitude, and he'd talk with normal people without condescending. In other words, he looked like a real person who was confident enough in himself not to have to raise himself above others in order to get through the night smiling. That's so fucking sexy on a man. We're talking instant wood here.

So I made eyes at him. Shamelessly. And I really didn't think it was working. I mean, let's face it, I'm not exactly at my most confident with the muscle guys. Everybody likes muscles, it seems, and everybody wants them, and they generally want nothing to do with scrawny boys like me. So I'm not getting my hopes up. And pretty soon I just gave up, or got distracted, or otherwise lost track of him.

Later, after we'd wandered into a darker and danker back room, John pushed me. Right into Mr. Sexy! I was a little tipsy, but I wouldn't have stumbled this badly on my own, I swear. I didn't mind though, because he let me buy him a drink. And that was all the excuse I needed to start blathering about my crazy life! Only it didn't seem to scare him away. Which was odd but pleasant.

Anyhow, long story short (yeah, right) we closed the bar down and as we were leaving he asked me to hang out more with him. Gawd, I wanted to. And I'm not normally that kind of girl...mostly because I like to plan ahead for these things, for a variety of reasons. But I totally wanted to go. And then we got to talking about it, and John had no extra key to his place, and he was definitely falling straight asleep, and how well did I know Mr. Stud, what if I needed to get back to John's before morning? Plus I was there to visit John for the weekend. So, after vascillating drunkenly in the street, I finally had to decline. It's just good policy not to push these things.

I got his card though! Hooray!

So that was Philly...I managed to get up for church the next morning, as you can see below. John and I had a relaxing afternoon together and saw an IMAX movie. Overall, a very nice weekend, and a welcome break from the crazy city.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

All that glitters...

I'm obsessed with church. Yes, a big element of the fascination comes from the fact that most pipe organs are housed there. And much of the appeal aside from the organs lies in the "pretty factor," i.e., how the choir sounds, how involved the liturgy is, how interesting the building and accessories are, and generally how a services is conducted. However, there's also a sociological fascination that has very little to do with the physical elements, and everything to do with a feeling of amazement that humans pour such resources into places of worship. Logic rules my thoughts and my life, though it is usually well-disguised by the (calculated) inanity of my social interactions, and there is a deep disconnect for me between critical thought and the incredible faith people put in things which they cannot see and which cannot be proved.

At any rate, my taste runs towards "high church." Think Roman Catholic before Vatican II. Think incense and robes and choirs and lots of ritual. I appreciate dignity and solemnity. I weep at the thought of guitars and drums in church. I don't want to feel good during a service, I want to feel awed. And thus I am an Episcopalian of the anglo-catholic variety.

Last weekend I made a trip to Philly to visit my friend John, a truly great guy and one of my oldest friends. Naturally I sought out recommendations for pipe organs I should hear. I was given several ideas but I settled on St. Clement's, which was advertised as the most anglo-catholic of them all.

First things first: the organ is outstanding. It's an old Austin which has been carefully restored and revoiced. It occupies an appropriately honorable place at the front of the church, split between left and right. It was described as "aloof" and indeed it is, the sound seems to come from some distance, it has a softness and a subtlety, neither of which adjectives are normally associated with my favorite instruments, but in this case which work very successfully. Yes, it did come down to earth and shake the firmament when fully cranked up, and I suspect the sucessful and transparent electronic stop additions were important in grounding the music when called for. However these positive elements somehow never collected together and moved me; while I enjoyed the sound, I was resolutely in a curious mood during all uses of the instrument. It never really reached out and grabbed me as some do. Overall I found it very enjoyable and unique, just not overwhelming.

The choir was also exceptional. The director was quite animated and clearly reheared his people a lot. Even when their sound was a bit strained (about half were volunteers, half paid singers) they always had impeccable unison and timing.

The service, however, was abhorrent. I have been to a lot of Episcopalian services with many different liturgical styles. The liturgy here was vastly different than any I have previously encountered. This would have been fine had the bulliten been of any help keeping up with everything, but it was nearly useless. There were many local customs, none of which were explained or even listed in the bulliten. The effect was to leave me feeling like a bumbling idiot who had never been to mass before, a feeling I haven't had in a very long time. The place was relatively empty, filled perhaps to an eighth of its capacity, so there was so much free space between me and the other patrons that I felt my errors were on prominent display. Oddly, most of the people in the congregation were men, I saw only a handful of women. The rector was from Britain and his cold upper-class accent served to distance him from the rabble gathered there. In the pulpit he very strongly hinted that separation of church and state was a foolish idea!!! Now I realize there are conservative Episcopalian congregations, but this was just ridiculous. It was the first time I had ever considered walking out on a sermon.

I did not take communion. I was just too upset and uncomfortable to participate. I felt unwelcome.

I ran out of the church after service without shaking hands with the ministers or speaking to anyone. I will not return.

I'm sorry that my first pipe organ review must be sullied by such an unsatisfactory report on a church. Rest assured that for the next time I'm doing a special report on an out of town adventure, I'll do more research.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Candies of fun.

Julie Cruise Director here, reporting in from a pay phone which she assures you is nowhere near her secret hideaway from the Feds. Julie would never make such an amateur mistake. However, Julie has been pushed to extreme measures, as this call had to be made even before the next delivery from the pharmacy, which take place every six hours.

Julie must immediately issue a public apology. Julie sincerely regrets the recent Halloween candy mix-up. Julie assure all the parents of her hideaway neighborhood that it was an honest mistake which led the sweet Cruise Director to believe that if Commit lozenges made smokers not want a cigarette, then giving them to non-smoking little children would actually build their defenses against the evil lure of cigarettes which they are sure to face later in life. No! Julie meant no harm. Julie loves the little children, all the children of the world. Julie wants the little children to grow up to be big and strong, and to slave away at soul-killing office jobs, so they'll make enough money to occasionally splurge a little of it on a lovely holiday cruise! Julie is especially fond of the 'Salons of 9th Avenue' cruise, and healthy lungs are definitely in order, as it is sometimes necessary to hold your breath for long periods, at least until you're two blocks upwind of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Julie had no idea all the little children would demand that their parents return them to Julie's humble hideout home, desperately seeking more lozenges. Julie absolutely wanted to assist the parents as they attempted to break up the bloody melee which erupted when the little heathens realized that there were no more luscious lozenges, and the bigger of the monkey spawn fell upon the smaller, seeking to rend their plastic pumpkins asunder, revealing the secret stashes of gleaming lozenge love hidden within. Julie cannot help that her laser-guided security perimeter was activated and the drones mistook the little brats for terrorists bearing bottles of deadly Gatorade, thus authorizing lethal force. No! Julie would never wish such a thing on future cruisers.

Julie has an alcohol problem. Julie knows it's not an excuse, but it's true. Julie was also touched inappropriately by a nun when she was in third grade. Julie can't be held responsible for these minor lapses in judgment. It could happen to anyone in her condition! What Julie needs is professional help, and believe me, Julie is getting it. In fact, the pharmacy is making an emergency delivery in 20 minutes, so Julie has got to sign off, as she must get through decon before the sweet little pharmacy boy arrives with the candies. Medication. Julie knows it's medication. Don't question Julie!

Julie loves me, this I know, for her doctor tells her so.