Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rockin' out sappho style

About a week and a half ago Jenn and I made the trek down to Albany for a concert put on by the CDGLCC (Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Council), and featuring solo performances by a couple of excellent (I think but am not sure lesbian) rockers; Christine Havrilla from Philadelphia, and the local singer/songwriter Erin Harkes. Having never been to any of this LGBT organization's events I was unsure what to expect (and while the TG is omitted from their title, they do actively support our causes as well).

After making a couple wrong turns in downtown Albany, we located the place and found some parking a couple blocks away. The Community Center is located in a residential area dominated by row-houses, most dating back to the 19th century. I had neglected to bring the announcement with us so I was unsure if the event was to take place at the community center or some other venue. Turns out it was held at the community center - an unassuming row house encompassing 3 floors.

Evidently we we're some of the first comers and so sat down with one of the center workers and watched a bit of Jeopardy. Then we headed for the 3rd floor and found to our amazement that many more had since come in before us. So we settled in the back row (the room only held about 25 seats, so this was still an excellent vantage point). The audience consisted almost entirely of lesbians and a pair of inconspicuous gay men. The room was interesting it itself with the walls adorned by a series of large mixed-media paintings and works incorporating wood and plastics - most with a decidedly lesbian theme.

Erin Harkes took the stage first (the stage consisted of a mic and a couple of amps on the floor, but the sound was clear and at a rock-loud but not deafening level) and belted her way through her catalog of blues-tinged rock songs - singing of jilted love and broken hearts with a passion that was refreshing. She has a powerful and distinctive voice and it really shined on a couple of her songs. She counter-balanced this with self-deprecating, humorous banter and stories with the audience between songs and she came across as a wizened veteran of constant touring and the vagaries of the local music scene. In her own right she is also an excellent guitarist and song writer (she normally has a backing band). Jenn thought she was too "doom and gloom" for her taste, but a tinge of darkness is right up my alley and I thoroughly enjoyed her set.

Christine Havrilla was the featured musician, regaling us with some excellent folk-infused alt-pop rock. She ripped right into some blistering guitar work and really good songs as well. While her voice might not be as powerful as Ms. Harkes, she is also a more polished musician and writer. Her songs were a playful mix of love and sex and adventure and relationships and she integrated her superior and catchy guitar riffs into intelligent lyrics and the song structure seamlessly. She is also a humble but very entertaining storyteller and placed many of her songs in context with a funny story or anecdote. The highlight of her set was when she asked the audience if anyone knew of the hardships of a long-distance relationship. Of course mine and Jenn's hands shot up immediately. She then launched into her sweet (and to us, inspiring) song, The Wire - which deals with the pain of distance and the joys of mutual love and support and just hearing your lover's voice, despite these difficulties.

At the end, Jenn got Christine's newest CD (she has like 5) and I got Erin's. A great show and well worth the trip and the cheap $10 tickets.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Clutch Quote #2

Could've been a swan on a glassy lake.
Could've been a gull in a clipper's wake.
Could've been a ladybug on a windchime,
but she was born a dragonfly.

In the sun she warmed her wings
and listened to the cicadas sing.

-Clutch, Dragonfly

Monday, December 18, 2006

Marquis Moment

Jenn and I engaged in some light BDSM yesterday. I had dabbled a tiny amount in this kind of activity a long time ago (and I was, of course, a completely different person both sexually and confidence-wise back then) but to tell the truth have never really understood the attraction of the whole thing. I have, though, always admired those confident enough in themselves to let go and explore such depths of sensation.

I'm not exactly sure how it started except as a joke, a dare, but then I guess I felt inspired for a new experience. I grabbed Jenn and pulled her into the bedroom along with several of our scarves and she seemed game. She then bound my hands together with a scarf (I don't have any bedposts) and went to work on me. We contemplated gagging as well, but decided against it.

It was a weird experience, mostly because I sort of took on the role of dominant masochist - I was the one wanting the pain but also the one directing the action, so to speak. I'm not certain, but my guess is that this combination may not be one used together very often - in my brief forays into the literature of these subcultures, it seems more common that the roles are more clearly delineated along dom-sadist and sub-masochist lines, but perhaps I am mistaken in that perception.

Anyways, I was loosely tied up and telling Jenn what to do and she found my sweet spot immediately. It seems my nipples are just such a soft target. As I prodded her to bite and squeeze them harder and harder I only got more turned on. Although it must be said that I think Jenn enjoyed her role as well, but probably felt some caution in not wanting to hurt me since she had no idea of my tolerance level. But for some reason I did enjoy the pain and wanted more. I was panting and so wanting her inside me (2 months more for that!!!) and had hot flashes and felt all tingly as well. Needless to say it was a mind-expanding experience.

I didn't expect this exploration to do much for me, but wow was I wrong. I doubt this will become a dominant lifestyle choice for either of us, but I think it is something we can put into regular rotation in the sexual part of our relationship. Maybe next time we'll even have some proper equipment on hand as well and see where that takes us... :-)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

yo-yo brain twister

The last couple weeks have been filled with major events/decisions/news on several fronts and right now I'm feeling like an emotional yo-yo: going back and forth between joy and sadness/anger, between depression and buoyant elation. Here's an update:

Things have been going swimmingly well between Jenn and I. We are coming up on our one year anniversary and I think I love her even more than when we were in the midst of our puppy love stage about 6 months ago. But the love is now deeper and more mature and stable. Like any relationship we still have issues and differences, but I am confident that regardless of those, we will both work to resolve them or accept them. In the past, this was usually a point in my relationships where doubt set in and I would (unconsciously for the most part) do things to exacerbate those differences and issues and hence give me an excuse to bail. No more. Love is once more a beautiful and exciting thing in my life. YAY! This has been and continues to be a source of strength and grounding for me and I am so grateful to have found my soulmate.

As recently as a few weeks ago I was being told by my boss that the final ok for my requested transfer to one of our college's offices in the NYC metro area (so as to be with my soulmate) was "probable." Last friday, she told me that this was no longer the case. She gave me a battery of excuses for this (office politics, the vagaries of the emotional state of higher-up managers, blah, blah, blah), , most prominent being that one of her bosses had since changed their mind on the matter and that even if the transfer was approved, it might not be permanent. I may be dense, but this clearly sounds like someone is determined that 1) the transfer not happen and or 2) I quit.

The worst part is that I feel totally raped and lied to. For 3.5 years I have busted my ass there for a far below average salary and I think contributed greatly to a large portion of the advances we have made in the library. When I made the request about 6 months ago my boss said we'll see and so I gently kept pushing the issue and eventually she broached the issue with her bosses. I had provided a cogent and logical argument for why the transfer was a win-win situation and had as recently as a couple weeks ago been told that the higher-ups were behind the idea. At the time we were short-handed and looking to hire 2 new librarians. Since then we hired those people and I did the vast majority of their training. No that I'm a bit more expendable, they conveniently decide to yank out my heart and effectively take this dream away from me.

I feel like I've been the target of an elaborate long grift - the old bait and switch: dangle some vague but sparkly goodies in front of the mark's face to distract her while they pilfer and rape her hopes and dreams. I feel betrayed. I love my job - and I have never before in my life felt that way about any job I have previously held, let alone after a couple years in. But now it seems like they only told me what I wanted to hear until I could get the new people up to speed and then all of a sudden I'm disposable. And I am fucking very good at what I do too. I could certainly excel at a different institution, but I am unsure I'll be able to duplicate the great things about this job anywhere else: variety, freedom, some creativity, flexible hours, generous benefits, and just the right mix of tech and traditional duties to keep me happy. The pay isn't great, but then again I didn't get into this profession with the expectation of becoming a millionaire. So for now I will persevere and keep pressing my case and continue to look for other jobs out there.

This has been eating at me for the last couple days, and I mean this crap is literally gnawing on my stomach lining and whipping up all kinds of muffled gurgling and creaking sounds from under my blouse. I may never understand how people can so blatantly and convincingly lie. Today I am feeling really taken advantage of (and not in a good way:-) and under appreciated. I have been a fucking overflowing volcano of disgust and anger about this until yesterday.

Yesterday I received a one page letter from my health care provider informing me (I think, since it is in medical-legalese) that my request for coverage of my upcoming surgery had been approved!!! For the full amount!!! WOW! This was not something I was expecting at all and yet here it was. So it turns out I may not have to put myself on the brink of bankruptcy and even deeper debt to pay for this procedure. I am in shock to be honest and now almost totally on cloud nine.

But, truth be told, I think I would sacrifice the insurance coverage if I could instead be with my girl on a daily basis. Certainly I haven't given up on us coming together geographically, it's just that that plan may have to be put off for a little while longer than anticipated. I have no doubt that we'll find a solution together - just wish it didn't have to take so long!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

clutch quote #1

"I'm ashamed to admit that I've been fooled by the seductions of violence,
people walking around with ugly auras,
at times I'm even tempted to seek the advice of Dr. Laura, but I ignore her.

So I take deep breath and count to ten,
ain't gonna let it get under my skin.
Take a deep breath and count to ten,
think of all the nice places that I've been"

-Clutch, "Careful With That Mic", 2001

It's my (no doubt minority) feeling that pretty much all the collected wisdom of our species can be found in one form or another within the sounds of Maryland's Clutch...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

bleeding eyed liberal

"sometimes I cry 'cause it makes my eyes look bluer,
sometimes I bleed 'cause red is a good color for me"

-"Rock n Roll Never Looked So Beautiful,"
Semi Precious Weapons

Friday, December 01, 2006

strumpeting my know how

A. sleazy a. Sl. cheap, *scuzzy, dirty, foul, *creepy, *raunchy, nasty, sick, gross, *skanky, greasy, oily, disreputable, low, contemptible.

B. slut n. 1. PROMISCUOUS WOMAN whore, prostitute, loose woman, hooker, harlot, nymphomaniac, *nympho, *floozy, *easy lay. 2. SLATTERN *bag lady, hag, frump, sloven

Self-definition (let's face it - we all need one of these): scuzzy, skanky psuedo-slattern

What,a girl can't show off her SUPERTHESAURUS every once in a while?

that's just wrong on so many levels

"Would you rather chop off your right hand or give birth?"

"Wait, would I have to keep it?"

"What, the severed hand?"

"Ya, because I'd like nothing more than to get that thing stuffed and wear it around my neck as a good luck charm, not to mention using it to scare the bejesus out of trick or treaters..."

"Wait, are we talking about the hand or the kid?"

"How about a compromise - I chop off my thumb and just give birth to a baby rabbit?"

a soldier's view of the war

Came across this eye-opening account today of the Iraq occupation and the struggle to train the Iraqi security forces and battle the insurgency. It was penned by a just-returned special forces advisor to the Iraqis. If only more people were made aware of intelligent, first-person accounts like this from the ground, they might have a different view of such idiotic ideas as occupation, "pre-emptive war" and "exporting democracy."

Go and check it out - get informed. Here are a couple excerpts to whet the appetite of those interested:

"Soldiers talk with Iraqis only from behind a gun, from a position of power
and not respect."

"massive deployments of American soldiers fighting a counterinsurgency now
hurts more than it helps. When we focus on the military solution to resolve a
social problem, we inevitably create more insurgents than we can capture or

"We airlift and sealift vacuum-sealed replicas of America to remote corners
of the world; once there, we isolate ourselves from the very people we are
trying to protect or win over. An Iraqi once told me, "How you treat us must be
like how African-Americans felt." If you're an American soldier in Iraq working
as an adviser, ask yourself this: Is the Iraqi I live and fight with not allowed
to enter any American facility? If you are a military adviser or training to be
an adviser, look around where you eat: Are the Americans on one side of the room
and the Iraqis on the other? Do you even eat with Iraqis? Do you go out of your
way to avoid eye contact and thus not greet the Iraqis you walk by? Do you try
to learn their language or follow their customs? Do you habitually expect Iraqis
to share intelligence and then not respond in kind? Do you distrust them?"