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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in ErrantEmber's LiveJournal:

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Monday, December 7th, 2015
11:22 pm
First Aya Experience, Ceremony Two
The second night I had more confidence in my ability to navigate a) The Experience and b) To The Bathroom, despite taking seriously the practitioners insistence that it was never the same ride twice. And, having drunk probably hundreds of times by now, they should know.

I had talked to a veteran earlier in the day, and he said that his progress has been substantially accelerated by having a specific intention. Having had the experience of using the more general "Clear what needs to be cleared, heal what needs to be healed, teach what needs to be learned" on my first night, I gave some thought to what might work as focus. I went back and forth a few times, not wanting to force it, but to use the residual in my system to offer guidance. I finally chose "I want to locate and clear repressed memories." After additional thought, i added "If it's especially traumatic, I don't need the full technicolor pornography, I just want enough of a reminder to place it in context."

I don't remember if they did it the first night, but the second night they did a Buddhist/Hindu ceremony where they invoked spheres of protection around the space. A later conversation with the female presenter revealed that they had started the practice when they were traveling more, encountering whatever residual spirit entities were in a given venue instead of their sanctified and finely-tuned setup at their home base. She said that after they started doing it, they encountered far fewer disruptions from random entities.

While staying with this intention, I spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not I would go back for a second drink. The best choice was obviously to wait and see. However, the night before my experience had been pretty intense, and it seemed like I was asking for a bit more nuance from Aya tonight, so i was leaning toward not taking more. It turns out I never heard the request, because it came during my one brief visit to the restroom.

When I'm modified, I like to break the rule about not looking at oneself in the mirror. While it's easy to understand why this could be a difficult experience for many, I've long achieved a level of self-acceptance that makes it a positive experience. I used my red and taped-dimmed headlamp to have a conversation with myself. I checked in to see how I was doing, told myself that i loved myself, thank myself for participating, then headed back out to my mat.

In an effort to be less in the way by the exit, I had left my long thermarest upstairs and set up a thick wool blanket instead. The night before I had managed to lie down as though I were sitting in a chair who's back was the floor and who's platform was my leather zafu. It seemed comfortable the first night, and it meant I took up a lot less space on the way out. However, when I tried it the second night, it felt very constricted, and I wasn't able to physically relax. I kept having to push my bedroll further out until i could like completely down again. Then I had to figure out where to put my dishpan, etc. I eventually found a way to make it work, though i was once again making it hard for people to exit out my side.

I suspected from the night before that it wasn't necessarily that I needed more of the drink to get things moving, but simply that it took longer to hit in my system for some reason. This turned out to be correct. Many other were clearly having intense experiences as early as 30 minutes after drinking, but once again it took me over 90 minutes to really feel it come on. Once it did, my intention worked quite well.

I wasn't treated to any really crazy repressed memories. I knew of two or three things that would fall into that category where i had heard from others they had happened, but had no conscious memory. However, I was given a consistent tour of many, many formative events that I had almost totally forgotten and not thought about in years. I think i counted between 15-20 over the course of the evening. Here's one example. Other's were similar.

The was a bully name Ben that lived down the street from me. We had several run-ins back when I was still a hopeless nerd wearing maroon slacks and not washing my hair more than once a week. I very reluctantly faced him down in a "After school!" fight challenge near the end of elementary school. It was pretty much exactly like a martial arts movie. I tried to leave several times, but once it became clear I couldn't escape without a fight, I assumed a karate stance (I believe i was a yellow belt at the time) and waited. He actually backed down in front of a good portion of the student body. At a later time he and his friend stole my bike, and when I went to retrieved it, he attacked me. I remember kicking him in the thigh. He told everyone I kicked him in the balls. At any rate, I hopped on my bike while his bully-worm ally looked on and did nothing and rode home. Looking at all this from an adult perspective, I was able, for the first time, to wonder *why* he might have had such bad feelings for me. I had been to his house only a few times. I remember his room was literally over a foot deep in toys and dirty laundry, and felt like what I now know to be a hoarders house. Although we lived in the same neighborhood, I felt his family was much poorer than mine. At the time, my father had a Porsche 911, and I rode a Redline BMX bike and carried around a Victorinox Swiss Army knife. I was also an only child. To Ben I probably seemed like a spoiled rich kid, and he likely felt a lot of the negative feelings I feel about really rich people today. At any rate, this ability to re-evaluate trauma from the power perspective of adulthood helped clear the previously subconscious tendencies the repressed memory might be causing. A very similar dynamic is used in Re-Evaluation Counseling, or Co-Counseling, with which I have some experience. This continued happening throughout the night, and was probably the best example of using an entheogen to get specific results I'd ever seen. One fundamental idea of RC is that these kinds of experiences get triggered in adult life, and instead of reacting authentically in the moment, we end up playing back our tapes of trauma instead. As this happens over time, normally positive and zestful people end up functioning at a fraction of their normal capacity. By re-evaluating the experience from the perspective of a powerful adult with help from another adult, we can get them out of our subconscious and into the light of day so they won't be as triggery. Eventually their hold on us lessens and we're free of the original trauma.

It might have been the second night, but also maybe the first, that, shortly after taking off, I heard a booming voice, too Hollywood to take seriously, say "You will never eat meat again!" I broke immediately out of the more spacey, contemplative headspace I was in, looked it straight in the eye, and said "Bullshit." There wasn't the slightest feeling of threat, or hesitation about my reaction. If this was the medicine, it had overstepped its boundaries, and I wasn't taking any shit. It sounded a lot more like an ego projection or joke than the other more gentle guidance I'd gotten before. Later I heard a similar voice say "I had to try. :)"

The second night I was more able to observe the way the practitioners rotated through duties. During the dark they mostly sang, coming out just once to check on us, or to perform Ventiatos, or special blessings, on people who were really having trouble. After the candles were lit, two of them would rotate among the attendees, performing blessing, while the person in charge would call each person up to sit in front of the Mesa in the power spot.

The second night we had a gentleman get stuck at the power spot. He was somewhat argumentative, and clearly not fully cognizant of what was going on. Many extra blessings were performed, and he was checked in with regularly. He became something of a roadblock, parked in the power spot as he was. The leader that evening joked gently but with increasing vigor to get him to move back to his place, or help him get there. Eventually they were able to get him to back up enough to get another person in the power spot again. He stayed in the center for most of the rest of the evening. He had come from part of the world wracked by war, and was unsurprising he had some shit to work out.

I made a bit more of an effort to sing along the second night, but was stymied by shyness and my voices inability to do a soft-start. I really wanted to sing along, though, and i hatched a plan to check in with those near me the third night so I could be more bold without excessively risking other people's experience.

I was super grateful for the cold coconut water after the closing of the circle.
Thursday, December 3rd, 2015
5:52 pm
First Aya Experience, Ceremony One
First Experience with Aya

I just got back today from my first aya experience. I won’t be mentioning specific people or locations involved to protect privacy.

Having just sold my house of 10 years to move full time into a native structure I build myself the platform of which is still under construction, I was clearly at a transitional place in my life. I heard from a friend about an opportunity to experience aya in a semi-traditional setting for what I felt was a reasonable cost, and decided the time was right. I had heard positive and mysterious things from many sources, and it seemed very harmonious with my values and place in life.

I was very busy with moving onto the farm, and life was very chaotic, so i didn’t have nearly as much time to prepare as I would have liked. I read the basic forms they sent, which just had the rules, a few suggestions about when to stop taking medication, which foods to avoid for five days prior, and to abstain from sex during the same time. There were a few videos online of some songs, but they didn’t really help me picture what the experience would be like. There was also a problem with the online discussion that had accidentally left me out. The trust network involved made me feel safe enough to try it, but even as I was traveling to the location for the retreat, I still felt very under-informed. The only literature I’d read was The Cosmic Serpent and How Aya. Works.

There were around 20 people total partipating, most of whom were recepients. We didn’t arrive until late afternoon, having been instructed to eat nothing after 2 pm. The location was a large house clearly used mainly for these kinds of things. Some participants paid extra for a bedroom, the rest of us found places to sleep on the floor. I knew three other people there personally. There were three couples, and roughly equal number of men and women.

The main ceremonial space was a large room very reminicient of both the living room in the house I just sold after a two year slog of a remodel that had me $50k in debt right before i got paid, and my Mom’s old house that had been in the family for 30 years that *she* had recently sold. This was to form a minor theme in my overall experience, and the timing of those two events was definitely syncrhonistic with the ritual.

We met all the facilitators during the brief time between arrival and the beginning of the first ceremony less than three hours later. Many of them knew each other from other spheres, a few were stranger and first timers. I think we had a pretty even split between people who had been before and newbies like me.

My previous enthiogenic experience was mainly with mushrooms and acid in a Burn context, with partners and friends, and during solo explorations. The clear divide between recreational use and spiritual questing had never really existed for me. The Burn scene certainly allows a smooth transition between and combination of those two. I had had some very intense trips, skipping over the line of ego death, both alone and with others. This was my first aya experience.

We filled out some forms, settled most of our bills, hung out very casually with the facilitators, who had set up the Mesa, the name for the ceremonial altar. There many icons on the Mesa, the central one being a Santo Diame Crufixo, to honor their work in getting some degree of legal protection for aya use in religious ceremonies. There were also Buddhist and Hindu icons like Kwon Yin and Shiva, along with an assortment of large crystals. Items that people wanted blessed, charged, or cleared could be placed on the sides of the altar. For the first night I put my hat band, though I made the mistake of putting it on the floor *next * to the Mesa instead of on it, causing it to be relocated at an unknown time to the fireplace behind the practitioners. This group draws their lineage from Peruvian Aya, and the main facilitator had studied there for six years under a Maestro in a family of practitioners. He had then come back to the states and realized he needed to help bring aya to the people there. I was less clear on the experience level of the others, though over time I came to realize their level of competence and stamina. The group also integrates practices from many other spiritual paths that they find complimentary. For instance, they invoke Buddhist lightwork to shield the space against external intrustion by stray or residence spirits, and do lightwork on participants during the end of the third night

We were arrayed in a c-shape around the Mesa, behind which sat the practitioners. We all had some type of mat big enough for us to lie down on, various pillows and cushions to be able to sit or lie down, blanked or sweaters to deal with changes in body temperature, a water bottle used mainly for washing the mouth out, headlamps for getting around in the dark, a toilet roll, and a washpan for spitting or vomiting, a common occurrence during these kinds of events. When I watched a video online where people could be heard moaning and horping, that’s when I had really started to understand what I might be in for.

We were told to stop drinking water a few hours before the ceremony, as it would dilute the effects and increase the likelihood of vomiting. We were warned not to trust aya farts, and that odds were good they would leave us with soiled underwear. We were told that the purging effect of the experience was often manifest in vomiting and diaharrea along with other emotional outbursts. Figuring out how to fit that many people in a configuration where everyone could lie down and the facilitators could easily get around to everyone was a challenge. I’m quite tall, and I was positioned in a corner angled inward partially blocking and exit path that highly modified people about to shit their pants would staggering through in near total darkness. It was sometime around this time that I realized the largest part of the experience would be in the dark. We were told to use the red setting of our lights, and try to use the tiniest amount possible to navigate the space so as not to disturb others. We weren’t to talk except to the practitioners when they were attending to us. Couples, at least for the first night, were separated. An overall theme as that each of us was empowered and required to work through our own stuff, with the support of everyone there, but we weren’t to become absorbed or involved with other people’s stuff, but stay focused on our own. The couples were separated to prevent their instinctive reaction to help their partner, which would interfere with the process.

The practitioners were forbidden to use the traditional tobacco, which is different from and stronger than American tobacco, in this house. They used (I think instead, maybe in addition) little bottles of Peruvian cologne that looked like small wine of soft-drink bottles. Before the ceremony, they made their way though the house and grounds make “SwoooooooSSH!”ing sounds and waving various objects to clear the space. This focused blowing was a major way of clearing space and spirits and was probably the most repeated and prominent spiritual act infusing all parts of the experience. One presenter told a story that when his lighter stopped working during a ceremony, his Maestro told him “there’s a spirit in your lighter.” He did the Swoosh, and it started working again.

Once we were all settled, we were reminded only to use the water for swishing and spitting and not to drink it until the ceremony was over. Each practitioner did a ritual cleansing with the cologne by repeatedly rubbing it onto their heads and the back of their necks, wetting their lips with it, then blowing it into their shirts. After that each one took a turn singing, I believe twice. I can’t remember if the palm-frond fan-shakers were used at this point or not, but they were used frequently throughout the ceremony. There were several types of songs that I will try to describe in more detail later. Most, called Icaros, were Peruvian in origin. Others mantas were Buddhist or Hindu. Once each was done singing, the aya was brought out. It’s a deep, muddy red color. The center practitioner, who was in charge for the evening, would do a blessing and clearing on each shot-glass full of liquid with the cologne “Swoosh!” Starting with themselves, they would fill the glass, hold it while focusing their intention with eyes closed, then say “Salud!” while they shot it. Everyone else would then respond with “Salud” more or less together. This progressed clockwise around the room until everyone, including all practitioners, had drunk. The amount would be varied based on body weight and previous discussions with the person. The glass was always handed *around* rather the over the Mesa. People further from it had to get up and kneel in front of it to drink.

I forgot to say “Salud” my first night, but everyone else said it anyway.

Once everyone had drunk, the lights were killed (I turned them off, I was by the swee-yatches) and we were plunged into almost total darkness. The practitioners began rounds of singing based on their reading of the situation and the inspiration of the aya. The effect took from 30 minutes to two hours to fully hit, varying substantially from person to person. I heard other people around me start to make moaning and other emotional sounds fairly early, but I wasn’t seeing much effect yet. There was a call for seconds for those not fully effected. The only thing I had noticed changing was a lessening of body pain that I generally associate with enthiogens, so I went up for seconds, which were much smaller that the first bit. Aya tastes like a super-strong and tangy licorice, with the whole love/hate relationship with the flavor. I like licorice, so though many other people rinsed their mouth out with water and spit into their buckets, I did not. I kept with the taste despite the vague feeling of nausea, wanting to get the full effect.

I had a few ideas in mind of setting an intention, but one practitioner suggested “Clean what needs to be cleaned, heal what needs to be healed, teach what needs to be learned,” so I chanted that in my head for almost two hours before I started to feel aya come on.

The Big Thing that’s supposed to make aya different than other enthiogens is that she’s supposed to be actively benevolent and intelligent, taking the best path balancing trust, compassion, and stern, lets-get-er-done directness. The general idea of the practice is that people have energies, spirits, or neurotic patterns that get locked into their awareness and/or are living in them and feeding on them at the expense of the host/true essence. These prevent the person from realizing their true, beautiful, unified, non-dual nature. Aya assists the person in clearing these energies/spirits/patterns, heals the damage they have done, and then teaches the person how to live a more harmonious life. Its repeatedly emphasized that the experience is almost never the same twice, even for the practitioners who do this multiple times per month. There are two frequent patterns. Some people have an immediate and powerful experience where aya goes straight in and starts cleaning house, and those people frequently vomit physically and lose their shit emotionally early in the process. Other people get a more subtle introduction, with trust being built gently until enough rapport has been established to start the deeper, harder stuff.

I fell into the second category. As the practitioners droned away in the dark, and I heard moaning, sighing, horping, and birthing sounds all around me, I experienced my first waves of effect, about 20 minutes after my second, smaller dose, and almost two hours from my first. Many other people had been modified much earlier. I remember spending a lot of time being hung up on the cost of the whole thing, and how disappointed and/or angry to feel if things didn’t happen. I had also, however, done a good job of suspending specific expectations, and being ready to drop new ones that came up. While I was definitely very out there, I didn’t experience the intense visuals many others reported. Even when stone-cold sober, I have a dim but constant progression of images before my eyelids. These become slightly more noticeable and reactive to the surroundings, but never the bright technicolor looney-tunes reported by many others. The first night it never got beyond about a 15% washed-out computer-screen level of brightness.

The singing of the icaros was the fundamental fabric of the experience. They are overlapped in rounds, with various numbers of practitioners participating at one time. Sometimes they are quiet, mother-like, and harmonious. Other times they are deliberately buzzing and discordant. This has the effect of building up the intensity, with a sensation of stirring up the spirits/shit/disfunction and then blowing it away, followed by come-down and soothing. This is repeated over and over at the direction of the aya to help people connect with and clear their shit. The sensation is visceral, as is the entire experience, with frequently belching, barfing, and animalistic noises going on all around. I never experienced a strong need to vomit, though my system did kick up a lot of gas that I cycled back in to prevent myself from hershey squirting. Although I was on the edge of the ceremony near the door, i was too modified to try to get to the restroom. I felt for my puke bucket periodically, but mainly for comfort and reference. Having heard that the intensity was higher when lying down, I had been sitting up for most of the experience so far, perched on my leather zafu, swaying back and forth to the music. I frequently had the urge to sing along, which normally would have been very easy due to the repeatetive nature of the icaros. However, I was *really* far gone, and it was also very important to me that anything I did add to the experience for others rather than detract, and to help support the practitioners rather than egoically distrupt or try to take over. At some point during a moment of more lucidity, I remember thinking how stupid I had been to think i wasn’t getting enough effect. The pulses came in waves, driven by the singing. I continued to sway to the music, checking i with my body periodically to make sure it was ok. Physical sensations were fairly abstract, and I knew that I felt less pain when modified. At a certain point, I got the internal suggestion (aya?) it was time to lie down, which we were told to do with our head facing the Mesa. This required me to turn around, which I navigated with clumsy grace. I had also been disturbed several times by people flashing lights to find their way to the toilet, so i pulled my hat over my eyes to block out the extra light.

At some point, I became aware of someone talking to me right above my head. It was a practitioner checking in on me. I was able to communicate that I was ok, and thank her for checking, see some delightful childish glee on her face that things were going well as a result of her efforts, and then went back into my space. I recall this happened several more times during the evening. I don’t recall these check ins having a structure the first night, and i was too internally focused to be aware if they were doing it with other people. Although the practioners generally stayed behind the Mesa to sing, handing off to each other and taking breaks as needed, they also would come out when they saw someone struggling and do additional songs and blessings on that person as needed. I recall being amazed at their stamina, then being even more amazed again later. They kept this shit up for 5-6 hours almost without a break while having drunk themselves.

One strong impression I had the first night was that i was getting a lot of special attention. Since I didn’t know what was going on anywhere else in the room, it felt like I was a maybe getting more than my fair share. Judging by what happened later, that may not actually have been the case, because the ceremony is designed to give *everyone* that impression, even if they’re not getting unusual amounts of help, while still providing the spiritual bandwidth to handle the occassional temporary spiritastrophy as someone worked through some hard shit. At the time it was amazing and mildly guilt-inducing, but something I took in stride as having been decided by the small number of people Adulting in the experience, who, Sweet Mother of Christ, wasn’t fucking me.

People around me were clearly having various levels of their own Holy Shit experiences. Although the intensity of the waves was working me over pretty well, I still wasn’t having anywhere near the level of distress that many other people were feeling. I’m a pretty experienced tripper, and was able to consistently check in with myself, ride the waves, not resist, squeeze when I needed, and collapse and rest, which also came in waves. I didn’t feel a huge amount of intelligence the first night, but I did feel like things were working lose inside me.

After several hours, the practiontioners announced that they would light the candles, and start making rounds doing individual blessings for each of us. Two of them went around the circle, asking us how it had been, how we were doing, and if we needed anything specific addressed. This interaction was more personal and playful, speaking to the invidiual They would then shift into Business Mode, do an icaro standing in front of us, a clearing with the cologne where they would suck out through their hands near our head, then blow though the hole with an exagerated “Swoosh!”ing sound several times. They would say a closing prayers, bow, exchanged mutual thanks, sometimes take as short break, which was a little more personal again, then move on. The third person running the show would then bring each person up to the Power Spot in front of the Mesa, where they would get to be the focus of the entire room. Sometimes this would involve longer discussions about issues or insights the person was having, with guidance from the leader. I didn’t have any specific requests or issues the first night. I was identified as someone who was just “going with the flow,” took my turn, then went back to my seat. It took several hours to work all the way around the room, so I alternated between splatting down into my bedding in tiredness and waxing waves of clearing, and watching the person to my right to see when it was my turn to receive a blessing. At some point near the end we were told it was ok to drink water now.

Once all that was done, there were closing prayers, thanks to everyone for participating, including the many ancestors, spirits, goddesses and gods, and the formal ceremony was ended. At that point normal conversation could resume. People who needed additional treatments could get some focus, and the rest of us got coconut water. I had never left my spot for the entire 5-6 hour experience. I was sober enough to stand and talk a bit with others about their experience. After a few minutes, nature poked me and I headed to the bathroom. I realized that this purging was a big part of the experience, so I went back into Ceremony Mode in my mind before dumping a huge, watery load over the course of 10-15 minutes.

There was snacking on rice, corn chips, and bone broth as we continued comparing notes. Eventually the exhaustion took over, and I carried all my sleeping gear back up the super creaky stairs to the space where, accidentally, the practitioners and I were sleeping, fire up my binaural beats on my bluetooth headset, and headed off to sleep:
Saturday, June 23rd, 2012
1:55 pm
Amazing
It's amazing that being stranded hundreds of miles away from one's nearest girlfriend does for one's auto-fellatio skills.
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
12:53 am
We Have a Plan
Although most of the day was somewhat of an emotional toilet-bowl, I worked out a Plan with my Mom I think we can all live with. It gets her maximal help during the critical period between now and her next Dr's. appointment, and gets me to Portland in time for my only real pre-negotiated deadline, and right in the middle of beautiful summer weather, with an appropriately undefined return date.

The rest is execution.

*Lots* of execution.
Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
10:29 pm
The Inner Conflict
Jesus. I've been helping my Mom recover from foot surgery recently, and it's been tough on both of us. I've been 200 miles away from home for almost 30 of the past 45 days, and today we found out she may not be walking again for another six weeks. I have Huge Plans to drive to Portland this summer that have already been hugely delayed, but she lives alone, and can barely get around with a wheelchair and walkers without help. She also can't reach all of her own feet, which makes keeping track of her Activac mechanical wound vampire thing difficult. She teaches adult education, and has lots of devoted students, friends and neighbors helping her, but naturally they can't do as good a job as a devoted family member. My Mom really busted her ass taking care of me as a child, with a bipolar and often out-of-work father. Her incredible devotion, focus, and hard work is the main reason I'm where I am today, and I know I can never full repay that debt. It feels like the least I can do is take a few weeks out of my life to help her through what should be a temporary hardship. Paying someone else to do it amounts to thousands of dollars per *week*.

Balanced against staying and helping is the fact that the trip to Portland is not some kind of recreational vacation. It's something I've been working on for months, if not years, and is the first major step to manifesting my new life of mobile development and living light in people's back yards. Mom's house is also filled with cigarette smoke and Fox News 24/7, and it's nearly impossible for me to get any work done on my career while I'm here. I have a huge amount of momentum making the move from corporate cog to independent developer, and a lot of will be lost if I stay here too long. More to the point, distractions and depression are the two biggest obstacles to me being able to pay the bills as an App developer, and both of those are going to be hard-core monkeys on my back as long as I'm here. Of course, the guilt of leaving will be with me if I choose to do that. I've also put thousands of dollars in parts and hundreds of hours of labor into getting my car ready for the trip. Finally, I have existing and potential romantic relationships in Portland, and this is the last funded trip I have before cutting myself off pending money from my new career. I chose to remove money from my retirement account for the second time just yesterday to keep myself afloat, and, even with everything as uncertain as it is, I still steadfastly refuse to seek full-time corporate work. I know if stay focused on my App development, I can get to a point where I'm paying my bill in six months or less, but if I let *anything* distract me, I won't make it.

Finally, my Mom has some issues with feeling loved and appreciated due to her tough life, and combined with the guilt issues I've had for years over our relationship, there's a very real threat that she will continue to see her own need as trumping what's going on in my life if I don't assert some boundaries. I'm fairly certain there's an internal monologue in her head that says "my son isn't really amounting to anything, he's committing financial suicide, and compared to what he has going on taking care of me is *much* more important." As much as I want to help her, I have my own life with a huge number of moving parts, and I can't simply turn it off, no matter how important the motivation. If it were a longer-term situation of her needing help, I'd have to put my foot down and say "if you really need long-term help from me, you're going to have to move to my town," but the fact that this is of medium-but-undetermined-term makes the water much muddier.

I've also had the luxury of living a pretty soft, self-centered life, and this is forcing me to grown up in a lot of ways that are painful but probably good in the long term. I really love my Mom, and being forced into a pressure cooker with her has actually allowed me to re-connect with some kinds of love for her that got blocked in my childhood. Those issues have caused intimacy problems with my partners, and I can already see the breaking of some emotional dams overflowing into those relationships.

The good news is that she has long term care insurance that kicks in in mid-July, and assuming she qualifies, she should be able to get more comprehensive home care.

From a taking action perspective, I think the best way forward may be to go home for as long as I need to to get the place ready for a five week absence, then return to D/FW on my way to Portland, with no intention of returning home before I head out. This will allow me to get what I need to get done done, but provide her with as much support as I can before I'm unavailable for a month. It will actually be a better test of living in yurt, which I will set up in her back yard, than doing it at home, since I won't have access to all my own shit there. I still have an overheating problem with the car I'll be taking on this 4400+ mile sojourn, and driving back up to D/FW will be a good test of the new radiator I have on order before trekking out cross country.
Friday, June 8th, 2012
11:26 pm
Not Getting Laid
With four girlfriends and as many possibilities as I had at Flipside, it's pretty hard to believe I haven't gotten laid for weeks. I've been pondering why, exactly, this is, and while it's complicated, what it really boils down to is this:

I don't trust people to be ok with casual sex.

Almost every decision I made that lead to me turning down obvious interest or failing to follow up on intriguing possibilities boils down to this.

My time is so limited right now, and I'm *still* not getting close to getting everything done. I miss my existing partners, who are all also very busy people. If I could actually have casual but meaningful sexual experience on the side, I would do it. But I absolutely do *not* have time to carry any additional full relationships, and my experience so far makes it very hard to have faith that potential causal partners could keep things casual.
Thursday, June 7th, 2012
2:47 am
Deep Throat not Quality Cinema

It's pretty hard to believe how bad the retro porn classic Deep Throat is. The acting is atrocious. The music is easily the worst sound track of any kind ever. But that's not the most egregious part.

The most egregious part is Dolly Sharp as Helen. Or, more specifically, her make-up job.

Some drag queens dress to pass. Many dress to impress. And then there's a few who seem constantly to be competing to be the ugliest, harpy-est, wedding-cakey-est make-up monstrosity ever to walk the face of a catwalk. But they have failed. And they will always fail. Because Dolly Sharp has won, and she will never be dethroned.

Watching her, or, more accurately watching the hyper-garish knee-deep crust under which she writhes, is so painful that I can't really talk about it any more.

It's the ugliest thing, without exception, produced by human-kind.

Ever.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
3:21 am
Flipside 2012: Freaky Deeky Time Machine: Thursday-Saturday
This has to be have been one of my best Flipsides ever!

I wasn't even sure I could make the event until the day before, because I was helping a relative recover from foot surgery. The final check-up appointment went well, however, and off I went!

I dragged my new yurt and 150 lbs of billboard vinyl all the way from Dallas. The car overheated at higher speeds, so I'll need to do some repair work and some load-lightening before I take the whole project to Portland this summer.

I arrived at The Cult of the Purple Taco shortly before dusk. To my joy, I discovered that several of my close friends and several more people I had met had come out from Georgia's Alchemy crowd and were camping in the *same* *camp*! Alchemy is my favorite burn after Flipside, and a large part of the motivation for taking my career on the road was to see that crowd more often. And here they were! Purple Taco didn't have enough space for my yurt, and I hadn't even started cutting the vinyl necessary to cover it, so I set up just the skeleton at Time Lords as an art project, and so I could enjoy and geek out on all my hard work with other homebrew housing enthusiasts. Some of the people who helped me unload inadvertently dropped the ends of the roof rafters into poison ivy, which was, unfortunately, one of the few negative themes for the event.

I proceeded to assemble the yurt on Thursday night, and only needed a bit of help to hold the roof ring up while I put it enough rafters to float it. I offered the helpers Technu, but they wandered off before I could deliver. I encountered my first hard-core yurt enthusiast during the setup, and we talked for over 30 minutes about it. I have a few easy ideas about how to stand the roof ring easily so that the structure can be set up by one person. I think once I have it down, it will take less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

The theme for the pairing of the yurt and the Metro is The Tortoise and the Hare. I'll be painting an enormous turtle shell on the yurt covering, and making a cute little head and fins to complete the motif. The Metro, at 55 horsepower, will be the Hare.

On Friday I spent some time hanging out with the Tacoteers and the Alchemists. I checked out The Hive project, headed by the same person who's been running Circle of Fire in the many years since my brief administration, which was super-cool. The idea is to create a center-camp-like at Flipside, with a modular design that could be added on from year to year. It was both beautiful and functional, and I got some great ideas on how to proceed with the vinyl covering for the yurt from that team. Kudos to Adam and crew for the project, and to Adam specifically for taking on so many projects that enhanced the burn. I also spent a few lazy hours lounging in the creek, the first time I'd ever been in it. It was hippie soup, but it felt great. I didn't see any of the promised leeches, despite being knee-deep in mud much of the time.

I felt slightly cheated, but other took the slight with greater equanimity.

On Saturday I got up after Not Enough Sleep to help out with serving our famous Purple Tacos. I had some good discussions with M. about emotional content being brought up by the burn, and also acted as a busker during the later part of the Taco experience to try to bring in people to finish off our ingredients. Our crew also made a visit to Burning Glam, where I procured a fabulously tight and slinky red top that I wore the rest of the day. I defaulted to wearing purple to show my esprit-de-corps with the camp the rest of the time.

Saturday evening I decide to have a new non-sober experience accompanied by my closest Atlantian friends.

Some vignettes from the experience:

I started out with my A. crew.

We started at a camp with excellent shade, a good view of the outside sky, but also a lot of fun internal lights. The sun went down as we came up, with the digital light replacing the natural in a beautiful, smooth progression.

Being completely entranced to my knees by Paula performing at Circle of Fire. At moments like these I often wonder if she's still married. :)

The delightful condition of being able to simultaneously go way out into serious visual effects and synesthesia, but still being able to concentrate, hold a conversation, and laugh at and make jokes. I recall getting several compliments for my witticisms, which felt good.

The general sensation of multiple levels of consciousness between total talking-to-God territory and lucid conversation happening at the same time, switching into each, or at least not having to wait long until the right one came along, at will. A friend later said "that sounds like lucid dreaming," and he was spot on.

See-sawing on the 'Stache Saw, screaming "THE DRUGS ARE TRYING TO KILL YOU!!!!!!" at the top of my lungs.

Running into a strange group of people wearing fake beards and stovepipe and red-white-and-blue campaign hats lines up on bleachers singing "Bohemian Rhapsody." The energy was so powerful people who thought they had achieved Escape Velocity staggered around as though snagged by their souls with the Rhinestone Tractor Beam of Queen, joining in with manic, entirely mandatory glee. As a long-time choir singer, I've experienced magic in group performance on many occasions, but this was by far the most powerful experience of it's kind I've ever had, and it happened so fast I didn't even realize it until it was half over. With the enormous variety of sexual preferences, fabulous clothing, and human freedom, I don't think Freddy Mercury could possibly have been more proud.

Another Major Energetic Musical Moment was the two times we walked by Drum Camp. All of the swirling split personalities suddenly collapsed into a single clarifying unity the closer we go to the drums. Never have I so fundamentally understood their power and direct connection to the human psyche. Nothing else I've ever experienced while tripping was so...clean. And the effect faded in direct proportion to our retreating distance. I returned to drum camp later, with only two and then one person playing, to kneel before the altar and let the drums work me over for a good ten or fifteen minutes, until the player brought things to a halt. I bowed in gratitude and continued on.

Being completely breath-taken by the Well of Souls after making a request to get out into the nature a bit more for a breather. It was definitely one of the most convincing and visceral connections with spirit I've seen from an art display.

After about six or seven hours, we stopped by Purple Taco and ended up splitting up. I had a snack, then struck out on my own.

Riding Fatima, one of the Four Rocking Horses of the Apocalypse, in what turned out to be a very sexual way. The feeling of the smooth, rounded, sensuous body shape, combined with the crotch-grinding saddle-configuration and the twitchingly responsive rocking gait had me going for a good five or ten minutes before I decided to see what sensual pleasures awaiting me in War.

Riding War was very different, it was big and heavy and chunky, which turned to be perfect for dancing. I got the horse itself rocking to the beat of the nearby gypsy music, and it was more than stable enough for me to lift and the saddle and dance with the rest of my body.

Ended up at Burning Soul, where my good friend and ex-girlfriend and several other old-skool people from my early firedancing days were camping. I was struck, not for the first time, of how grateful I was and how novel it was that I had such old friends. As a kid, I was forced to move every few years until I got into junior high, so I had almost no ability to maintain long-term friendships. Austin and the burn scene is the first time I've ever had the opportunity to do it, and it feels so good and right, like a something inside myself that's been disconnected for ever was repaired.

Danced at several different locations. I can't say I generally get super into dancing while modified, although ingested weed can have that effect. I generally consider Flipside to be a major downgrade in my dance experience, but this time it was at least fun. I definitely missed Ish and it's amazing dance experience.

Spent some time communing with my yurt, and how it represented the fun, healthy new direction my life was going in. I had previously been intending to raise the doorway, because I have to duck slightly when I go into it. However, I had the revelation while running my fingers over the wood that there was a powerful metaphor lurking in the mild inconvenience. When we cut down on our life to find out what we really need (ducking through the door), then a little more (standing up again) feels like luxury. Without this exploration, our consumeristic culture just programs us to want more and more. It's such a perfect explanation of what I'm trying to accomplish, I decided to keep the stoop.

Ran into an old British friend from way back in my early Flipside days. We hung out for hours discussing simple living, camping, and my yurt, which we finally managed to find after over an hour looking. I escorted him home.

Continued wandering and experiencing as dawn crept up. I realized that the end of the effigy field near Ice Camp look a *lot* like the end of the field at Rec Plant, the original location of Flipside when I started going in 2002. There was an empty spot where Circle of Fire used to be on the old property, and it definitely brought me back. I watched the sun rise, and probably 12 hours after it started, my journey was complete. After two weeks of taking care of my relative and being locked in a room with cigarette smoke and Fox News, I had needed it. I went to bed a happy man.
Thursday, May 17th, 2012
1:40 am
Sort-of back
I've updated my online presence to include both a professional and "private" Facebook page, but something about the change makes me reluctant to really be completely honest on Facebook. Maybe just because it's Facebook. I've had many instances where I *wanted* to post something person, etc., but just didn't feel good about doing it there.

So I'm back here. For who knows how long.

The comment that I wanted to make, while perusing porn on Tumblr, is that while I'm interested in broadening my sexual horizons, experimenting with BDSM and role-play, etc., I really can't ever imagine me answering the question: "What's your biggest sexual fantasy?" with "I'm the Count of Monty Cristo, dressed in fabulous velvet, exchanging triple entendres with the Vicar's saucy wife" instead of "I want a pair of hot chicks to give me a rimjob and a blowjob
simultaneously."

Real sex with real people is a completely different story, because that's mainly about connecting with and exchanging pleasure with someone I care deeply about (most of the time. :) )

Context, costuming, and mental state simply aren't as important to my fantasy life as XXX-rated porn. :) It's possible that might not be true if there were ever hope of even remote parity between situational erotica and Random Internet Porn, but I don't think there's enough minutes in my lifetime for that to be even remotely possible. I *do* appreciate an ever-widening and increasingly artistic variety of porn, but it's still porn.
Saturday, January 14th, 2012
8:22 pm
Auto-Immobility
About two months ago, I had three functional vehicles: a Honda SUV, a Geo Metro, and my infamous EVTA R-20 Electric Scooter. I now have zero. I sold the Honda (for a really excellent price), the batteries on the scooter died, so I was down to the Metro. I took it up to D/FW to see my Mom, then almost immediately to San Antonio to visit an old friend with a new baby. No problems on those trips. However, it's now randomly stalling out, and all the previous solutions I've tried haven't been working. I've got another message out on the Geo Metro list, and have previously gotten Monster Help from them, but in the meantime I'm vehicle-less. The kind of problem I'm seeing is one of those issues where any one of ten different things could be causing it, and the only way to find out which one is to systematically try them all.

The Metro probably isn't going anywhere for a while.

I'm intending on replacing the batteries on the scooter before I sell it, but I wasn't planning on doing that until spring. In the meantime, I'm looking seriously into buying a gas-powered scooter. I can get one for under $1,000, and, unlike my electric scooter, I'll be able to drive anywhere I want without having to worry about running out of power, waiting to recharge, or worrying about rain. It's really too bad, because electric scooters have the potential to be *way* better than gas ones, but unfortunately none of the major manufacturers are making them, and the ones that do get made often suck or are outrageously expensive.

I also don't have the money for something like this at the moment, and it greatly increases the likelihood that I'm going to have start dipping into my retirement savings if I don't see some serious gaming income soon.

Time to re-double my already re-doubled efforts!
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
12:45 am
Metal Head for the Win
I had forgotten how perfectly penis-head-shaped Twiki's head was! Wow!
Saturday, December 17th, 2011
9:24 pm
Of Vital Importance
It's also *critically* important to realize that the voice of the lead singer of The Decemberists is *infinitely* more grating, annoying, and destroying of the underlying quality of the music than the lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins.

It's not even close.
8:41 pm
Wonder of Wonders
I need to dress as Wonder Woman in public at some point in the near future.

Please keep me apprised of appropriate venues/events.
Saturday, December 10th, 2011
12:27 am
Life is Too Short
How is that I reached 38 years of age before typing the words "Fraggle Porn" into a search engine?


Also, now that I have a lot of my (slightly) more mainstream stuff posted on my personal website, which is (myname).com, I'll likely only be doing updates here when I want to post stuff I'd prefer not be traced back to my real identity.

I ask that the connection between this blog and that one remain hidden. If you want to follow me on my other blog (where I'm out about being poly) you can ask me for the website when you see me.
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
7:42 pm
Auto Sales, Bedroom Swaps, and Zero Money for Food
I've been re-engineering my social media presence, so I haven't been updating here as much. This will remain my private, post-whatever-the-hell-you-want blog.

Big Things are happening in my life. After lots of work and expense to peachify it, I sold my Honda to the very first person who came to look at it. I got a really good price, and I think he also got a deal, as it's very hard to find a vehicle that old in such excellent condition. I've been operating under the budgetary assumption that I could get a certain amount for the vehicle, and due to conservative estimates and good planning, I managed to get quite a bit more than necessary to satisfy my budget. That extra money is getting gobbled up very quickly, though, for several reasons.

First, my fabulous Sealy mattress of ten years is now officially less comfortable to sleep on than my concrete floor. I ordered a new memory foam mattress, which won't be here for at least a week. I've been sleeping on my jujutsu mats, which are stiffer thank Rick Sanctorum at an Erasure concert.

I feel more martial already.

Luckily a friend came through with a spare full-sized mattress, which is being delivered tomorrow evening, so I should be in better shape then.

The timing is also excellent, as I'm moving from my 500+ sq. ft. master suite into one 144 sq. ft. bedroom. The married couple I live with will be moving in the other direction, which can only lead, one assumes, to increased marital (and therefore household) harmony.

At least, that's the theory.

Another theory at work is that it would be useful for me to try simulating living in an RV for longer periods of time, since it's my intention to get one, then spend months at a time on the road. I love Austin, and don't want to be based elsewhere, but I'm Done with Austin summers. I have friends and lovers in Portland and Atlanta, and lots of other places I'd like to visit. I'm also engineering my career in a more mobile direction. Anywhere I have wi-fi, I'll be able to earn income.

So in addition the new, smaller full-sized mattress (coming down from a queen), I'm also getting a loft bed for the new digs. I'm not exactly sure how sex is going to go with that little ceiling clearance, but I'll have the spring mattress arriving tomorrow for "guests."

It's like college all over again.

One major motivation in getting extra money for the truck was to be able to visit the beautiful spottedvasa again, and I just finished getting my tickets for that.

Finally, I recently decided to dovetail my desires to sell a lot of shit (144 < 500) with my desire to save money, so I zeroed out my food budget. If I want to eat in the next six months, I can't take it out of savings. I have to get it from additional sales of Crap I make. I took a few weeks worth out of the car money to jump start that effort, and I also have my first salvo of items on Ebay. By the time those auctions are done, I should have enough to survive for a month an a half in my piggy bank.
Monday, October 31st, 2011
1:24 am
Thrift Store Fabulopocalypse!
Yes, I did just coin that word. You heart it here *first*.

My Goodwill Sense was tingling madly today as I perused Half-Price Books next door. I'm planning on buying an RV as soon as I can afford one, but I need to figure out first how much RV to buy. The way I'm handling this experiment is to move into a 144 sq. ft. room that I will equip like the inside of an RV. It will include a galley, a sink, and possibly a humanure toilet. The Gods of Thrift Stores heard my plea, and hooked me the fuck up!

I found a Munsey Contemporary Oven, which was my favorite toaster oven until fortune took my last one away from me. Large enough for a small chicken, solid as a rock, my last one lasted for over 15 years and was still working perfectly when it left my possession. $8

Wonder Wash Portable Clothes Washer - Wash up to 5 lbs of clothes by hand with no power in under 10 minutes including rinsing. Perfect for doing small laundry on the road without power, and easy to use. $8

The accompanying Spin Dryer which must be plugged in, but will remove enough water to get clothing drip-free in under three minutes. $30

A similarly-sized plug-in washer called the Magaic Washer - WW02. Less labor, maybe slightly more water. $20

A Norelco 3-blade shaver with a more functional beard trimmer $4

A Homemedics Therapist Select Shiatsu Massaging Cushion. My Mom has a slightly fancier model, but this one works just about as well, and cost all of $8

I am deeply grateful to the Gods of Thrift for this bounty, and will put it to good use!
Friday, October 28th, 2011
3:21 am
That Fucking Scooter
My friend trippedbreakerneeded Late Night Cat Food, so I offered to let him borrow my electric scooter. He happens to convert vehicles to electric for a living, which will become ironic shortly. While talking to spottedvasa on the phone around midnight, I got a text from him informing me he was stuck at a gas station a few miles away with a dead scooter.

I replaced the scooter batteries a few months ago, luckily with ones purchased from Alien Scooter on South Lamar, meaning they have a warranty. His opinion was that the batteries were acting as though they were just about to die (as in die-die, not die-just-discharged.) They cost approximately $500. Recently, the scooter has been suddenly nearly dieing when only about 20% into its range, and I had forgotten how cold it was tonight. Lead-Acid batteries lose a huge percentage of their power in the cold.

So I swooped in to the rescue with the charger and an extension cord. We plugged it in and left it for about two hours. My original plan, which I'm very happy I vetoed, was to bicycle down to the scooter, lock up the bike, and ride the hopefully-charged-enough-to-get-home scooter back. Instead I decided I'd rather take the Metro down to it, park it, and take the bus or something tomorrow when it's warmer. At 3:05 AM, I just got home after a chilling low-speed-into-the-wind scoot home. The scooter is now charging in the carport, and I am going to *bed*.
Monday, October 24th, 2011
1:39 am
Shelves? DONE!
Large enough to hold twenty four 48-gallon tubs!
Finally, *FINALLY* we can clean out the sunroom!
Sunday, October 23rd, 2011
1:11 am
I Am a Fucking Hero
So I had these coins.

These *dirty* coins.

I left a syringe of expoxy in my car after an abortive repair attempt. And it leaked. Not the hardener, mind you. Just the resin. It leaked directly into my change compartment, coating all my change in a sticky, gooey, Gieger-esque mass.

I tried to clean them. With soap. And shaking.

*Lots* of shaking.

But to no avail! They remained slimy enough to be useless. I was going to just ditch them. Leave then on the street for those less fortunate than myself, lonely and forgotten. They were so bad I had to spit polish them with a dirty napkin just to use them at Taco Bell.

Really! I had given up.

I had given up, until the city of Austin changed it's fucking downtown parking regulations to include Saturday nights until fucking *midnight*.

I'm not fond of paying for parking.

Until now. :)
Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
9:42 pm
The Boots
The Boots are On
I'm six-foot-four
I'm Black
and Slick
and Out the Door.
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