May. 1st, 2009 10:33 am
jacktellslies: (bear girl)
My garden is small but good. My mother just gave me a gift of herbs growing in a pot far nicer than the ones I usually manage to salvage. I spent a couple of days recently cleaning up the abandoned lot next to my house. I found construction materials from the people who refurbished my house, cement and paint poured onto the ground, beer bottles and cans from neighbours, children's juice boxes, and useful things: bricks and cinder blocks I'm using for other projects, snail shells I kept, pretty bits of glass and metal, and enough empty and untorn trash bags to fit all of the junk that I cleaned up. And I found so many worms! My niece came to visit me one day, and we collected them in a cup and put them to work as slaves in the mines of my compost pit. The lot looks far better now. I plan to put down some pretty groundcover in the front part in hopes that it will prevent people from dumping things there again, and maybe building some raised beds in the back.

I had my first couch surfing guest come to stay with me. He is an American, from farther North than I am, and hoping to move to Philadelphia. He's a terribly sweet anarchist named Bobby who likes spending time in the sun on his roof, and writing poetry, and hoping to learn to build furniture so that he can move with almost nothing but tools and build what he needs when he gets here. We liked one another immediately. I took him on a walk through my city, almost an accident of good streets and local markets and parks on our way to meet some of my friends. He was so thrilled with all of it, and liked my tribe so much. The next day Whitney and I started to plan for our early Bealtaine celebration, and he joined us, first coming with us to our favourite stalls at Reading Terminal Market. Then we had a good adventure, searching for firewood in the city for the evening's bonfire. I wore a big backpack, and sticks and twigs and lumber stuck out of the top of it, making me look like a proud wicker man. We carried seed bombs with us while we explored, dry little balls of compost and clay and seeds, and tossed them into empty patches of dirt that needed some flowers to fill them. We collected huge quantities of moss, too, which I later fed to my blender along with beer and yogurt and sugar. We painted it on the walls of my back yard, sharing what was left of the beer, toasting with the moss. Now we mist it and wait for it to grow.

Bobby had to pack up and get on a bus before the party. That evening more friends came, and we lit a big fire with sparking pine branches and the things that we'd gathered. Whitney made a salad with strawberries, raw goats' milk cheese, excellent balsamic vinaigrette, and caramelised pecans. She made asparagus and mushrooms too. I always admire the local royal trumpets and oyster mushrooms at my market, but I usually settle for the far cheaper criminis. It was nice to finally have reason enough take a few of the fancy ones home.
jacktellslies: (crow)
Bella Vista Beer Distributors are fantastic. Not only do they specialise in hard to find imports and phenomenal locally brewed beers, but they deliver for only five dollars. If, however, you should happen to find yourself enjoying an excellent conversation about beer, travel, and fishmongering with one of the resident experts, and if in the course of that conversation you find that he lives a mere three blocks away from your house, he may offer to drive your case of Harrisburg's Appalachian Brewing Company's mixed sampler to your house himself when he's through with work. Lovely!

I must also report that Whitney and I have a new and unwanted pet mouse. We've named him Syphilis and struck the traditional bargain: he may stay, but only if he and his friends form a tiny jazz band. It worked remarkably well last time.

I am, I think, proud to announce my involvement in The Zagat of Sex, a group Twitter account involving four of my dear friends, time travel, little virtue, excellent taste, and no discretion whatsoever. And you thought Twitter was useless!
jacktellslies: (circusfolk)
Thank you all so very much for the kind words and advice. I've regained regular internet access, although I'm feeling a bit quiet again.

However, while on the topic of losing data, this is worth mentioning: Robin's Bookstore, one of my favourites in Philadelphia, is closing. The place was always stocked with interesting things, although my devotion to it derived from the fact that its sections on magic and related topics were superb. I don't think I've ever been in the place without finding some useful or interesting text I'd not known about yet, which is a better record than any shop I've ever known, even ones specifically devoted to those things. I suspect that either the person responsible for their ordering knew what they were doing, or someone twitched their nose at those particular shelves to make them unusually useful. The place closes on the thirty-first of this month, and all of the first floor books are half priced until that time. This gives me twenty-one days to decide whether or not I need or even want a nicely bound three-part edition of the complete works of Aleister Crowley.
jacktellslies: (this machine)
I've been contemplating menstrual cycles, seismic hormonal shifts, rage, darkness, and blood. I've always enjoyed bleeding a great deal, but the emotional earthquakes that accompany it can at times feel unbearable. It had begun to feel completely unnatural, these sudden cold plunges into insecurity, anger, depression, and desire. And each month presents itself so uniquely that I find it difficult to track or fend off.

That it felt unnatural was the thread I followed. When is the natural ever even? When is it ever smooth? It is quiet when it is hiding, and it is quiet when it is lying in wait. It is savage and protective, even when it is still.

I've met a great many pagans who worship some theoretical forest, some imagined field. I cannot. I worship the land that my boots walk. It is a land of good trash and broken glass, streets that I know and streets I do not, of underground rails, of glass towers that threaten the sky, of alleys, and drains, and hidden places. People get hurt in my city. People die. This city does not fuel or fund my magic. This city is my magic. And when I leave this city, if I wish to move with magic still, I must learn to listen and to speak to other lands.

Why then, if I claim to worship here and to worship now, do I insist on suppressing these things simply because they feel irregular, extreme, and unpleasant?

Will my anger erupt less forcefully when my blood calls it to do so if I more regularly allowed myself my rage? Will sadness refrain from crushing me if I explore it more honestly whenever I find it? Rather than suppressing these things, ought I to be owning them? I am honestly not sure that this will work. I explore my desires honestly more frequently than may be productive, and they still overwhelm me in ways that hurt in the days before I bleed.


I completely forgot to buy food yesterday, so today I cleared out my pantry in constructing lunch. I made lentils, some red onion sautéed in butter and red wine, some purple potatoes, and I mixed in the seeds from a pomegranate that was brought here on midwinter but never eaten. Red things, dark things, underground things, bleeding things: it's good underworld food.
jacktellslies: (geroges barbier mermaid)
Hallahan is a local Catholic high school for girls with a tradition of jumping into Swann Memorial Fountain at the end of the last school day of the year. They swam yesterday. I have a fondness for private schools and all of their pageantry, and, I admit, I don't mind living in a city in which at least once a year more than a hundred teenaged girls go swimming in their uniforms. Bravo.

Unfortunately, as the article mentions, the city has been wasting a great deal of time and effort in trying to prevent people from swimming there. Those responsible lack any respect for tradition, any sense of adventure or spontaneity, the slightest understanding of why the fountain is beloved, nor do they posses the smallest bit of tact or sense of urgency (there are more dangerous things that one could do in this city, such as being young and poor). I hate to be the one to have to point out the obvious, but the time for revolution has long since past. This must be the final insult, the last restriction upon our liberty. To the streets! To Logan Circle! Clad in bathing suits, army boots, and righteousness, we must free the fountain and ourselves from tyranny.

Also, although I am not yet certain, I believe that I may, for the first time in years, have access to a working bathtub. This calls for a celebration! Would anyone care to join me? And shall we have wine or tea?
jacktellslies: (remorse of nero)
My dearest Philadelphia,

Because I am kind, I'll give you the option Nero never did. I am looking for a house to rent. I'd be thrilled if said house could include hardwood floors, sufficient counter space in the kitchen, and storage enough for extraneous furniture, but I'm flexible. I've been looking for some time, however, and I am no longer amused. So, if you fail to provide me with a place to live within the next two weeks, I'll burn you to the ground and build my fucking pleasure dome. Thank you ever so much for your assistance in this matter.

jacktellslies: (ladies)
Pittsburgh was lovely. There were blessings: I'd almost put my money in a stolen bag, but I didn't. I'd almost brought my love, my computer, and I'd almost travelled with toys. There is that. I saw some beautiful and some disturbing examples of taxidermy. It is a thing I would very much like to learn to do. I learned that there are Inuits who believe that Raven is responsible for giving them fish, and for the order in which the fish run. The whole thing is based on the order in which he let them out of boxes or opened gates. I approve. I saw many friends, if I failed to see others. Drama was reenacted, although the stories have changed little. I read all of Sin City in one day, save the first graphic novel, which I'd read before, and the last graphic novel, which I saved for the next day. I had not read any comic books at all in such a long time; it was a nice return, and Pittsburgh was the right place for it. I watched some films, and I walked nearly everywhere, and didn't spend much money. I attended Meredith's bachelorette party, where I helped to decorate my first ever breast-shaped cake (my contributions included drawing the aureola, selecting grapes as the appropriate substance for representing nipples, and adding a labrys tattoo. However, Rebbecca, the creator of the cake, won by piercing one of the grapes. She has many talents. We ate fantastic food and watched horrific seventies porn (softer yet wackier than the variety to which I've been subjecting my friends in Philadelphia) and we all got quite drunk. Everyone kissed everyone else, even, at times, when fate did not deem it necessary. (Perhaps that was only me?) It was quite a bit more debauched than the parties to which I am accustomed, or mayhaps I was only more successfully seduced by this party than I usually manage to be. I returned to Philadelphia quite bruised and happy, even though I learned that Amtrak will not be refunding my ticket, and I cried at the woman who told me this and took my second ticket, and I meant it. Upon my return to the house, however, I found that Parker had taken up a collection among friends to replace some of the things that had been stolen. My friends are too good. I do not begin to deserve them. They thought I'd be stolen away by Pittsburgh, that I wouldn't want to return, but I am glad to be home. I love the people I have here, and, although I dearly miss the people I have left behind, they are scattering, and Pittsburgh is no longer really where I belong. I hadn't quite known that until this week. (If Meredith and Alex were to move to Philadelphia for a while, of course, my joy would be complete.) And today was full of surprises, good food and an accusation or two. I did not mind at all.
jacktellslies: (Default)
on new year's day i watched a bit of the parade, or, rather, i watched people drunk in the morning or early afternoon and happy and making noise and dancing and teaching one another to strut and generally being lords of misrule. and it was funny: you see, i do not turn heads in this neighborhood. i am nothing unusual here, and so i mostly forget that sometimes i rank somewhere around the gayest ever. but the people who come to watch the parade are not from here; they come from elsewhere in the city. what i mean is, there is something strange and ridiculous and wonderful about being stared at by a bunch of people who came here specifically to watch half of the men in philadelphia run around in ugly dresses.

as punishment for making terrible choices (terrible choices is here translated as, "out with megan." i still maintain that i was a drunk, drunk kitten, and that being drunk does count as an excuse if i was apparently drunk enough that i didn't notice that she hadn't showered in three days. i also contend that the knowledge of this is more than punishment enough.) aiden kidnapped me and took me to delaware, of all places, where we mostly failed to witness traditional delawarean language, dress, and culture, and to taste unique, exotic dealwarean food. we also mostly didn't cruise quaint suburban neighborhoods with the windows down and the bitch and animal song about dildos playing more than loudly enough to break a few children. but we kind of did. crossing the border back into pennsylvania, the joking suggestion that we should totally go to hooters resulted in our actually going to hooters when i admitted that i'd never been. my favourite part was that for as big as aiden and i both talk, neither of us seemed to be able to speak to our waitress like human beings. we were both shy and so nervous. i said thank you so many times. but it was everything it should have been: we ate mediocre food and the waitress touched our arms when she talked to us and sat next to us when she took our order and pretended to have gone out of her way to get aiden a lighter and told us that we weren't like those other guys; they were lame and drunk and had just been here yesterday, but she could tell that we were cool. we wondered what the very young children whose fathers had taken them to hooters would grow up to be like, and i hoped that if a customer should become awful, the hooters girls would all reveal themselves to be amazon warriors and gang up on him to defend one another's honour. i came home and aiden left and patrick, the most amazing boy in all the world, came over for tea and puppetry and a nice walk. he is brilliant, and has touched and made things most of us never even bother imagining.

today i worked, and while i did that, aiden took the keys to my house and hung out there by herself because apparently some people don't like to listen to their roommates having loud sex if they aren't directly involved in it. i don't pretend to understand. when i finally joined her we watched a good deal of the first season of what i would argue might actually be the best television show ever made, the adventures of pete and pete. the nineties were so much better than what we are now. she left and meredith introduced me to my first ever bollywood film, bride and prejudice. it was wonderful, managing both jane austen and transnationalism perfectly. i want to learn more about the genre. bernie came over, too, and gave me a nuns-doing-cool-shit calender that i love, and a crazy cd, and pirates. everyone left, and there was a house meeting. it seems that i might be a little bit closer to one day having a room again, or so i pray. the past few days have been so full. i am blessed. there are rain noises outside my window, too.


jacktellslies: (Default)

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