Monday, February 17, 2014

new year, new benefit

Wow, look at that! Rediscovering this blog just in time to talk up this year's Daddy Tapes benefit! That's some kind of synchronicity, I guess. Meanwhile, I've had yet another therapist foisted upon me, and after our second session I'm pretty sure that she's going to be a bust as well. What are the odds? One to one?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

27th Annual Daddy Tapes benefit for American Heart Association!

I'm so proud to be a part of Bill Popp's benefit at R Bar for the American Heart Association. Every year for the past TWENTY SEVEN years Bill has put on a benefit on behalf of his father, called the Daddy Tapes benefit. It has become a local music institution, and I'm excited to be working the door for this show.

The famous guitarist of the Patti Smith Group, composer, producer, author, music historian, compiler of the legendary Nuggets series, and all-around great guy Lenny Kaye will be playing; that's reason enough to go to the show if a good cause and eight (!) other fun bands aren't enough inducement.

R Bar
218 Bowery (what 3rd Ave becomes below St. Marks Place/Cooper Square)
between Prince & Spring Sts. (a block and a half below Houston Street)
on the West side of the street

6:30 PM to ? (at least midnight, and probably later)

Wanted: person-walker

Soon it will be Spring. People will be out and about even more than now, and I have to get myself back out there too.

I used to depend on other people going with me to walk, and to that end I fantasize about putting an ad in the local foreign-language Penny Saver-type rag saying:

Wanted: person-walker
Just like walking a dog, but no running and no picking up poop. I can't pay you money, but as an energy exchange or barter I will help you with your English language skills. Learn proper pronunciation and grammar for the low, low price of taking a lady for a walk around the park for an hour or so a day. 

My other choice is to invent an invisible friend to walk with me. My last invisible friend was French (with a Parisian accent, no less!); this time, the odds are he'll be Korean. The good news is I get to work on my foreign language skills; the bad news is it's cheating, because I should really be doing this by myself with no outside help, real or imagined. Ah, well ::sigh::

So here's my ad for the local invisible friend Penny Saver:

Wanted: person-walker and invisible friend
To take me for walks around the park, to accompany me as I run errands, and to love me, encourage me, and motivate me to get my ass in gear. Multilingual a plus, and intellectually stimulating conversation is a huge plus.

I forgot to mention that the lack of intellectual stimulation over the past year has also been a factor in my decline since the loss of my teacher. I miss those conversations. Hopefully my new invisible friend will be the best conversationalist ever! Yeah, I know it's all imaginary, but I don't actually expect a real human to answer my ad.

Oops, 5:30 AM; time to finish watching my kdrama and catch a bit of sleep. 안녕히 주무세요; 사랑해요, 친구. (I'm sure my invisible friend can read 한글, plus I wanted to show off my new typing skills ㅅ_ㅅ.)

A lady named Ruth

Let's face it, I've been having a hard time. See, there's this lady named Ruth, and try as I might I can't communicate with her. Nah, let's not talk about her. I'm doing this quarterly review thing, and it has come to the forefront of my attention that I'm not in as good a place this year as I was last year. I can blame it all on someone like Ruth, but that's not the truth of it.

I've been reflecting, and I've got a lot to give thanks for. Between a teacher that I used to have when I lived in the country and the teacher I had when I returned to the city, I've grown more in the last few years than in a bunch of others combined. I'm so much stronger in so many ways; I have more confidence in my abilities, more assurance of my strengths than I ever used to, and I can acknowledge it without feeling as if I'm committing some sin of pride.

That being said, I've fallen far behind where I was last year. I was just beginning to become confident enough to do the "coffee on the front steps in the morning" thing, and I felt quite sure that with the work I was doing with my teacher I would achieve my short-term goals. That didn't happen, not simply because my amazing and wonderful teacher was no longer guiding me in my path, but because my teacher's replacement never provided me with anything close to the same kind of guidance. I feel as if I've spent the last ten months or so pulling pills off of an old sweater rather than running laps around a track. Weird analogy, right? Okay, here's a better one: picking nits slowly and carefully off of one hair at a time, when what I want to do is shave it off and get on with the important stuff like running around the track. Yes, it's ultimately helpful to remove all the nits from my head; but at this pace I won't be lice-free for another five years, and in that time five years of my life will have been lost and gone forever. I can't wait to live, I need to do it NOW, and rehashing old emotional shit and picking it apart down to the molecular level does nothing but make me bored, angry, frustrated, and fed up.

On the other hand, maybe I had to waste almost a year with this shit until I got fed up enough to do something about it. So, I'll write a letter to the gang explaining why I feel they've failed me (and I've already got a couple of drafts in my computer; I've been working on this for a while, now) and take the steps to finding myself a new teacher. I don't know if there's any way I can ever find anyone as good as the last one, and I'm sure a large part of my depression last spring was the heartbreak over losing him, but I've got to try. I need to be my own Prince Charming and save my own life, since it's obvious there won't ever be some other who'll do the saving for me.

That's a pretty sweet lesson, I think.


Monday, February 11, 2013

sleeping, dreaming, waking

I dreamed of you last night. There were several people standing around, as they do at art gallery openings and wine and cheese parties, although I can't remember what event was happening, or if there was one. I was over here, and I caught a glimpse of you over there, three or four depths of people between us. I just saw your face for an instant, and that was it. No conversation or anything, and it wasn't a major part of the plot of the dream, but you were definitely there.

Interesting; I hadn't planned on thinking about you for another couple of months, but you popped up sooner. Why? What is there to tell me? Are you reminding me that my work tanked after you left? Are you gently chiding me to get back on track? Easier said than done, with Ruth as my support system. I mean, seriously; how can I focus when my helper is more scattered than me?

I hope you didn't email me and think I ignored you; I haven't used my normal e-mail address for a year now. Too much Facebook crap filled my inbox every day, and since I couldn't figure out how to turn it off I just abandoned both of them. I use alliesbass now, but I don't check any of my accounts with any frequency.

As you see I stopped blogging here after my forward movement came to a crashing halt. I was doing a sex blog on another platform, but I haven't posted on that one in a month or two either. I've been spending an awful lot of time on Tumblr, reading a lot of manga, watching a lot of anime, watching lots of Korean and Japanese mini-series, watching lots of Korean and Japanese movies, and learning about things like non-binary sexuality and gender fluidity.

According to a bunch of people in the non-binary community, bisexuality is as rigidly binary as heterosexuality and homosexuality. There's a fierce debate going on at the moment that I'm fascinated by and very much invested in; it affects how I will want to label myself, and it's helping me take a deeper look at my orientation and how I see myself sexually. I am also getting used to the longer LGBTQIA, which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer/Questioning, Intersexual, and Asexual. I'm not sure of Q for Questioning, because all the other categories (besides Intersex, which describes a condition, or rather a group of conditions) describe orientation. On the other hand it makes sense, because even at this stage in my life I'm questioning my orientation based on the (for me) new ideas of gender fluidity and non-binary sexuality. (It's not that my orientation has changed, it's just that my previous self-label may not have been completely accurate.) Also, Q for Queer isn't specifically about orientation, it's an umbrella term for all the other non-heteronormative sex/gender minorities. I think polyamorous folks would fit under that umbrella, for example.

Gee, look at me; I ended up writing a blog post after all. It doesn't really belong here (the paragraph above is the kind of writing I've been doing on LiveJournal) but it's good to let you know what I've been up to.

Studying the complexities of sex and gender has been and continues to be an interesting and introspective journey, so I suppose it fits in with the contemplative theme I was originally going for when I started this blog.

Sending my thoughts of peace and lovingkindness to you out in the ether, to you reading this blog, to you not reading this blog,

I am with grateful thanks,

Respectfully yours,


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Compassion and Disappointment

It is difficult to feel loving-kindness when one's feelings are hurt. My newest metta bhavana is focused on cultivating thoughts of loving-kindness towards people who have hurt my feelings in some way. I am thinking of children who bullied me in grade school, friends who didn't stick up for me when I needed it, and people who've left me in the lurch.

I was recently given an unpleasant explanation for the disappearance of an important person from my life; someone I just met implied that one of my teachers was guilty of professional misconduct and lost their job because of it. If this is true it causes me sorrow, because it means that my teacher made a decision that hurt a lot of people. I feel sadness for my teacher, and I feel sadness for all the people who were affected by whatever the bad decision was.

On the one hand I want to tell my teacher, "I feel that you were selfish to put your need to do whatever you did that was wrong above the needs of all your students who relied on you." On the other hand, I want to say, "You must have felt what you were doing was right, and the consequences were worth it." What I want to say most, though, is, "Whatever you may have done that was wrong, it doesn't negate the work we did together, and it doesn't negate the importance of the lessons I learned from you. You continue to be one of my most important teachers; that does not and cannot change. I only wish I could have continued to learn from you; I feel you had much more left to teach me, and I still had a lot more to learn from you."

How do I send metta to someone who is guilty of wrongdoing? Praying* that all sentient beings be free from suffering does not mean that criminals are not guilty of their crimes, and by praying for them I am not condoning their actions. Rather, I am praying for them in spite of their actions—or more accurately, regardless of their actions. When I perform metta bhavana, I am praying that all sentient beings be safe from harm, live with ease, and enjoy peace. There is no addendum to qualify that only "good" people receive my prayers. I am sending metta to all sentient beings: sharks, doctors, eagles, rapists—who or what they are and whether they spend their lives and actions in a way I approve is immaterial.

Whether or not my teacher is actually guilty of wrongdoing is something I doubt I will ever know. My disappointment, my sense of loss is not changed in any way by the taint of guilt. But the most important new lesson from this situation is that my metta bhavana does not change. Guilty or innocent, my teacher deserves the same loving-kindness as always. And see, that's a new lesson learned! Thank you, teacher.

*Prayer in this article does not refer to supplication to a deity for granting of a boon; it refers to a meditation practice in which I am cultivating compassion for others. In other words, instead of asking a God to do something kind for me, I am generating kind thoughts within myself and sending them outward.
Both require an inner focus, and prayer is the word I grew up with, so I use it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

new music blog

Check out Puss In (Punk) Boots, where I talk more about music and less about spirituality (although there's a whole lot of intertwining going on, especially because I've been thinking and talking a lot about MCA lately).

Much earlier today I had a song in my head, specifically this one:

It's called "Easy to be Hard," from the musical Hair by Jerome Ragni and James Rado. The video is from the film version of the musical.

Why post it here instead of on my music page? I think it's because the wistful quality is appropriate for some of the ups and downs I've been experiencing lately. This is the song that soundtracked my thoughts earlier.

Later on, I had a much different song playing in my head. It's called "Pay To Cum," by DC hardcore band Bad Brains. The lyrics are impossible to understand because the song's so fast, but they are:

I make decision with precision
Lost inside this manned collision
Just to see that what is to be
Perfectly my fantasy
I came to know with now dismay
That in this world we all must pay
Pay to write, pay to play
Pay to cum, pay to fight 
And all in time,
With just our minds
We soon will find
What's left behind 
Not long ago when things were slow
We all got by with what we know
The end is near. Hearts filled with fear
Don't want to listen to what they hear 
And so it's now we choose to fight
To stick up for our bloody right
The right to sing, the right to dance
The right is ours... We'll take the chance 
A peace together
A piece apart
A piece of wisdom
From our hearts