Monday, December 28, 2009

Overprotection Sets In

In honor of my niece's arrival, I have composed an open letter to all newborn male babies in the greater Boston area:

Dear newborn male babies,

IF ANY ONE OF YOU LECHEROUS LITTLE FUCKERS EVER GETS WITHIN FIFTEEN FEET OF MY PRECIOUS ANGEL, I WILL TASE YOU IN THE FACE.

Please re-read before hitting puberty.

Cordially,

Uncle Evn

PS: I also have a machete.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Niece of Strife


Welcome to the world. I am totally going to buy you a pony.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hooker Heels Sold Separately

Me - "I need some new furniture, but I don't have any money."

My buddy N. - "Why don't you just go to a thrift store? Or the Salvation Army? Or a second whore shop?"

Me - "That's not a bad... wait, a what?"

N. - "A second who... um, a second hand shop."

Me - "Quite a Freudian slip there, bucky."

N. - "I honestly have no clue why I said that."

Me - "Is there anything going on in your personal life that I should know about? I mean, are you, like, in the market for a gently-used whore?"

N. - "Okay, okay. Moving on."

Me - "I'm just saying I'm never going shopping with you."

N. - "You're going to torture me with this for awhile, aren't you?"

Me - "Probably."

N. - "Wonderful."

Me - "Whoremonger."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

H-Town Pride

Although we're one of the largest cities in the United States, Houston is lacking in a lot of ways. We don't have a unique, unifying personality. We're not a mecca for celebrities. Our mass transit sucks.

But you know what we do have?

The nations's first lesbian mayor.

In your face, Los Angeles.

Friday, December 04, 2009

FeminEvn

Sarah: "I really like that new Lady Gaga video."

Me: "LADY GAGA IS A TOOL OF THE PATRIARCHY."

Sarah: "Evn... I acknowledge and appreciate your awareness. Really, I do. But it's important to remember that not everyone is a tool of the Patriarchy."

Me: "That's what the Patriarchy wants you to believe."

Sarah: "Just out of curiosity, how many feminist blogs are you misinterpreting I mean following these days?"

Me: "A couple."

Sarah: "Define 'a couple.'"

Me: "Well, Shakesville, of course. And Shapely Prose. And Feministe."

Sarah: "Okay..."

Me: "And Feministing. And Fugitivus. And The Rotund. And Fetch Me My Axe. And Renegade Evolution. And Rage Against The Man-chine. And I Blame The Patriarchy. And I Shame The Matriarchy. And Bitch, Ph.D..."

Sarah: "Okay, wow. I think you may have overdosed."

Me: "And you know what's weird? For the past few months, I've been feeling so angry all the time. You know? Because society inherently favors men and equality is an illusion?"

Sarah: "Apropos of nothing, but do you still have issues with Attention Deficit Disorder?"

Me: "Well, yeah. Why?"

Sarah: "Because I'd like you to play with this stuffed-toy monkey until I figure out how to explain feminism in a way that will help you become a positive force for change instead of an impotent, insulting conspiracy theorist."

Me: "Monkey!  Hey, wait a minute... what kind of monkey?"

Sarah: (rubbing her forehead) "It's a gender-neutral, sexually ambiguous capuchin with a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Oppression Studies from the University of California at Berkeley, okay?  Are you happy with that?"

Me: "SEXUAL AMBIGUITY IS A TOOL OF THE PATRIARCHY."

Sarah: "Get out of my house."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live

And by "poisoner," I mean the Popeye's Chicken on the corner of Richmond Avenue and Chimney Rock.

I thought those crawfish tasted funny.

Alas, no trivia this week, unless I miraculously find myself able to digest anything other than toast and applesauce. In the meantime, feel free to go all open thread on my comments section. Stories that do not involve crawling to the bathroom at 3:30 a.m. would be most appreciated, since, y'know, I'm already living that dream.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Trivia Solutions - We Want Lips!

Still even more trivia: The voice belongs to Richard O'Brien (Riff Raff), but the iconic lips belong to Patricia Quinn (Magenta).

Now let's have a sing-along, shall we?


Tuesday Trivia - Cult Classics and a Hidden Theme

(Hidden theme solved by Nettle and Red Delicious.)

1. A humanoid alien comes to Earth with a warning. (Solved by Nettle.)

2. 1930's serial film, remade with a little Queen. (Solved by Nettle and Deinos.)

3. Although it was his first American screen appearance, only his voice is heard until the end of the film.
(Solved by Melville.)

4. The Tempest. With a robot. (Solved by Veles.)

5. "I don't think it would be too amusing for the youngsters if I conjured up a demon from hell for them."
(Solved by Veles.)

6. Part of the title became a British term to describe large or menacing plants.
(Solved by Veles.)

7. The ship's passengers are chosen by lottery. (Solved by Deinos)

Friday, November 20, 2009

I am not okay

[Ed. note: Humorous and/or righteously indignant essays about the State of NeoPaganism Today will return shortly. And this post may disappear within the hour. If it does, don't worry. I probably just decided to stop dragging everyone else down with me. Also, please know that I'm not preparing to fling myself off a bridge or anything--I'm just getting some stuff out.]

When Jack and I broke up, I was upset but not particularly crushed. The end of our affair was a long time in the making, and while we haven't always seen eye to eye over the past couple of months, we've managed to cohabitate reasonably well, to the point of even getting along with each other.

Then Tuesday happened. I'd pulled an admittedly stupid, disrespectful stunt, and Jack was understandably pissed off, and I tried to apologize, and in doing so I suddenly blurted, "I am still in love with you." And hey, funny thing, but I didn't know I was still in love with him until I heard those words burble out of my mouth. I honestly thought I was, like, healing and shit. Instead, I discovered that I'm really, really good at lying to myself.

Fuck.

And I know, okay? I know I should've tossed some clothes in a bag and broken our lease the second the relationship officially ended, and cut off all contact until I felt whole again. But I didn't, because (brace for more delusion) I had it in my head that this was just a phase: Jack would get whatever out of his system, come to his senses and be down on his knees begging me to take him back well before our anniversary. And I would say no, and vengeance would be mine. In anticipation of this grand event, I refused to deal with the reality of the situation, and when Jack didn't prostrate himself at my feet, I freaked out and threw things at walls, because Look how crazy my love for you makes me! Look how I prove my worthiness to you by going violently out of my mind! Which, y'know. Always works.

The truth of the matter is this: Jack is not going to beg me to take him back, because he does not want to get back together. No amount of unstable or self-destructive behavior on my part is going to change that.

Have you ever seen one of those "depression hurts" commercials? I always assumed that the "hurt" thing was figurative, but no, it does indeed physically hurt. I desperately want the pain to go away, but depression is unfamiliar territory. I don't know how to navigate it. I'm afraid I'm going to get lost in it. In the meantime, as I've been mucking through this gray, Sisyphean landscape, Jack is... blossoming. He's been working out, hitting the town with new friends and generally just loving life. That hurts even worse. He's happy, while every morning I look in the mirror to find a wilted, ugly thing with bloodshot eyes staring back.

I understand that I shouldn't be beating myself up so badly, that I should be doing something to repair my devastated self-esteem, or at the very least start looking for a new apartment. But all I'm able to do right now is fixate on how weak I truly am. You see, despite my fantasies of empowerment and revenge, I was ultimately the one who broke down and begged. Above everything else, that hurts most of all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Trivia - Solutions

New Strifemongers Cat and Melville knocked these out with no problem. Clearly, the ante must be upped next week.

Hidden Theme: The Zodiac.

1. Bull Durham

2. Twins

3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

4. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

5. The Scorpion King

6. The Men Who Stare at Goats

7. A Fish Called Wanda

Tuesday Trivia

I'm very proud of how much work I put into today's hidden theme, which means someone's probably going to guess it immediately. (Cat got it.)

1. A veteran catcher mentors a rookie pitcher. (Solved by Melville.)

2. The brothers are a future governor and a former dispatcher. (Solved by Cat.)

3. Based on a children's fantasy novel, which was the first written but the second chronologically. (Solved by Cat.)

4. The lead actor really did have his chest waxed, which he later described as "unnecessarily painful." (Solved by Melville.)

5. "We have killed Babylonians! We have killed Mesopotamians! But we have never had the pleasure of killing an Akkadian." (Solved by Melville)

6. An army training program for psychic spies. (Solved by Cat.)

7. The stuttering animal lover accidentally kills three terriers. (Solved by Melville.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just in time for Christmas. And Confession.

The 2010 Calendario Romano has been released. For those not in the know, it's a Vatican-approved calendar that features a different smolderingly handsome Catholic priest for each month of the year.

Because hapless crushes on straight, married dudes no longer cut it for me in the "You'll never tap that" department.

Tuesday Trivia - Solutions

I really thought Red Delicious was going to clean up on this one. He may have no choice but to seek revenge.

Anyhoo...

Hidden Theme: Movies made into musicals.

1. Big

2. Billy Elliott

3. Legally Blonde

4. Reefer Madness (a.k.a. Tell Your Children)

5. The Wedding Singer

6. The Little Shop of Horrors

7. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Tuesday Trivia - Name That Theme

(Hidden theme solved by Wendy.)

1. "I like you, and I want to spend the night with you." "Do you mean sleep over?" "Well, yeah." "Okay. but I get to be on top." (Solved by Rebelleink.)

2. "Find a place on that bloody wall and focus on that spot. Then whip your head 'round and come back to that spot. Prepare!" (Solved by Wendy.)

3. "Don't stomp your little last-season Prada shoes at me, honey."
(Solved by Cat.)

4. "I'm going to ask you a straightforward question: Isn't it true that you have, perhaps unwillingly, acquired a certain habit through association with certain undesirable people?" (Solved by Veles.)

5. "Please get out of my Van Halen t-shirt before you jinx the band and they break up." (Solved by Wendy.)

6. "You didn't mean it. You never mean it. You didn't mean the time when you put up the bouquet with the 'get well' card in the funeral parlor, and sent the black lilies to that old lady in the hospital." (Solved by Deinos.)

7. "I've got culture coming out of my ass." (Solved by Veles.)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Quote o' the Moment - Point of Balance

"Traditional Witches often put down Wiccans as 'Fluffy Bunnies' because they are generally more inclined to lighter, gentler practices, but Wicca is a tradition as valid as any passed on within a family for generations, and Gardner himself showed evidence of tapping the bone when he wrought his Wicca out of the pieces he was given by his initiators. Likewise, Wiccans often put down Traditional Witches as being dark, even demonic, when the truth is that we all come out of the darkness, and the point of balance is where there is greatest power and beauty."

-Peter Paddon

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday Trivia - Solutions

May all my Strifemongers have the opportunity to kiss his buttocks and sign his black book.

1. Devil's Advocate

2. Race with the Devil

3. The Devil Rides Out

4. The Devil Wears Prada

5. The Devil's Rain

6. Devil in a Blue Dress

7. Daredevil

Hinty Freshness

Only one more movie to go! Stab at it valiantly.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Tuesday Trivia - 'Tis the Season

Think of today's theme (which will become very obvious very quickly) as a belated "Happy Samhain" from Chick Publications.

1. He breaks the fourth wall to announce his favorite sin. (Solved by Christina.)

2. Why is a schoolbus out on a Sunday? The roadblock is a trap.
Texan Witches chase a recreational vehicle. (Solved by Brother Christopher.)

3. She has not yet been baptized into the Astronomical Society.
(Solved by Brian.)

4. The most expensively-costumed film in history. (Solved by Debra.)

5. ...and then the cast melts. The End. (Solved by Veles.)

6. "A man once told me that you step out of your door in the morning, and you are already in trouble. The only question is are you on top of that trouble or not?"
(Solved by Lisa.)

7. A blind lawyer from Hell's Kitchen. (Solved by Lisa.)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Things I say to justify the things I say

"I'm, like, the David Hasselhoff of Wicca."

Discuss.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Full Body Proselytism

Ye Gods, but I need a massage. Seriously. The muscles in my upper back could deflect bullets right now, and the overall tension has started affecting my subconscious: Last night, I dreamt that I booked an appointment with a "licensed, professional" massage therapist, who instead turned out to be a creepy gynecologist. He made me submit to a series of x-rays, examined my back for a second, then berated me for asking to use the restroom and made me take out his garbage.

Repressed frustration or frustrated repression? You decide.

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to be a client of Greatest Massage Therapist of All Time (tm). Total teddy bear of a guy, Pagan, gay, could completely work this one knot out of my shoulder that most therapists can't even break into, just an absolute prince. In fact, here's a For Real picture of him:

I know, right? Sadly, he moved to New Orleans to be with his boyfriend and pursue his art career. Because true love and national recognition for one's creative endeavors are more important than my shoulder. Apparently.

After he left Houston, I spent many moons vetting new massage therapists, but I couldn't find one with whom I clicked. They couldn't quite get the crunchies out of my problem spots. Or they were crazy. Or they weren't crazy enough. One guy did a great job, but his studio was way the hell across town. Plus all the pot he smoked before sessions made him overly chatty, which did not particularly help me relax.

A few months back, I wandered into a chain massage company down the street from my apartment, and lo, finally met an adequate replacement therapist. Nice person, very intuitive, listened to my needs and adjusted his style accordingly. Sounds perfect, no? Um, no. A skilled and talented masseuse he may be, but... well, here's another picture:

Yeah. I should explain.

I was at the massage place, getting a nice, deep-tissue rubdown and teetering on the edge of consciousness, when my therapist went, "Hey, Evn?"

"Blurgh?" I responded, coming out of my coma. "What's up?"

"Can I ask you a question? I kind of need some advice."

"Sure..." I replied, still not quite awake but feeling a vague need for caution.

"Well, I recently met this girl, and I like her a lot. We've gone out a couple of times, and she seems to like me, too."

"Congratulations," I said.

We chatted about the girl for awhile, and I could tell that he really did like her, mainly because whenever he brought up one of her many favorable attributes, the pressure he was exerting on me went from "firm" to "interrogation technique." Eventually, he realized I wasn't yelping out of the sheer joy I felt now that he'd found a special someone. He apologized profusely and got back to his quandry.

"So, anyway, here's the thing. She used to go to church on a regular basis, but she feels like religion has... failed her. And I want to tell her about my religion and the church I attend, but I'm not sure how to bring it up."

"Okay... what religion are you?"

"Jehovah's Witness."

I thought for a moment. "I'd recommend letting her bring it up. When that happens, you can take the opportunity to share your beliefs with her."

He nodded. "Yeah, that's a good plan. Thanks! So, are you a religious person?"

Experience has taught me to tread carefully in these situations, so I mumbled something about being raised Episcopalian.

"And did the Episcopal Church... fail you?"

I don't think I've ever felt so naked in my life. Not just because I actually was naked (although that wasn't really a problem: I mean, hell, I'm Gardnerian), but because it was such a moment of helpless exposure. I was lying face down on a table, with this guy who could snap me in two towering over me, digging his fingers into my leg and gearing up to ask if I'm in the market for a new denomination. Awkward.

Oh, and by the bye, WTF is with the whole "... fail" thing? Does he have a freakin' script memorized?

I ended up telling him that the Church didn't fail me (it just fired me) as much as it wasn't the right place for me. I went on to say that I hold some deeply personal spiritual beliefs with which I'm extremely content. He caught my italics and didn't press further, and the session came to a close. Stress-free at last, I limped my way home.

And now I'm desperate for another massage. I've got an appointment booked this afternoon with a therapist I found through an online directory. His bio didn't mention a stance on organized religion, but regardless, I'm totally going to case his studio for the current edition of The Watchtower.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Trivia - Solutions

Vanquished in a timely, thematically-appropriate manner.

1. 48. Hrs.

2. Labyrinth

3. On The Beach

4. The Ring

5. Switching Channels

6. The Day After Tomorrow

7. Pitch Black

To make up for my tardiness...

... I went ahead and dropped a hint.

Tuesday Wednesday Trivia

What? I got busy.

With that in mind, today's movies all revolve around deadlines and time management.

1. Two days of temporary parole. (Solved by Siobhan.)

2. One guard always tells the truth; the other always lies. (Solved by Siobhan.)

3. A Coke bottle nudged by a window shade. (Solved by Lisa.)

4. The tree featured in the video is a Japanese maple. (Solved by Christina.)

5. "He's pardoned, and you're pardoned, and you're pardoned, and you're not."
Superman, a Bandit, and the three-time love interest of the son of Spartacus.
(Solved by Melville.)

6. The students trapped in the library burn books to keep warm.
(Solved by Red Delicious.)

7. Eyeshine and a total eclipse. (Solved by Lisa.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Heterocidal

In looking back over the details of the whole bloody debacle, it's clear that the biggest mistake we made was "asking" rather than "doing." See, my buddy Sphinx and I thought it might be fun to start a social/discussion group for gay male Pagans in the Houston area, so what we should have done was chosen a date, time and place, and then send out an announcement via Meetup.com. Instead, we decided to see if anyone else was interested before we moved forward, and so we posted an inquiry on a local Pagan listserv.

Like the legendary invasions of Ireland, the responses came in waves.

First Wave: Accusations and condemnation. By expressing the intent to form a group for like-minded individuals with common interests and experiences, we're being divisive and separatist. And we're destroying the community. And we hate black people. Apparently.

Second Wave: An animated discussion between several self-styled "fag hags" about how much they just love their gays. Because, y'know, nothing makes one feel more human than being perceived as a fashion accessory.

Third Wave: General consensus that this currently-theoretical group for gay male Pagans will be open to everyone. Sphinx and I replied that no, actually, we'd like to keep things limited to gay men, which was met with...

Fourth Wave: Condescension. It's so cute when the gays try to think for themselves. But really, we know what's best for you. Bless your sexually deviant little hearts.

Fifth Wave: More decrees of forced inclusion. The group will now be open to gay men and any cisgendered woman who has (I swear I am not making this up) an invisible, "phantom limb" penis.

After the last round of attempted appropriation, we gave the fuck up. Oh, the group's still happening--several other guys have expressed interest, and an official Meet & Greet's in the works--but we've removed ourselves from NeoPagan Big Brother at Large. Safe space will be created away from the willfully ignorant, with outside approval neither desired nor required. And anyone in the Houston (cough) community who takes issue with that is more than welcome to bite me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quotes o' the Moment - Theory v. Reality

"Never complain. Never explain."

-Katharine Hepburn


"Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps."

-Emo Philips


(PS: Emo Philips made me come out of the closet. True story.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Trivia - Solutions

You guys rock. Which means you should all go out and immediately rent #4. Seriously. It's one of the few true Best Movies Ever.

Also, you should all go out and rent #7, because, well, wow. Fisting. 'Nuff said.

That aside...

1. Trick

2. Jeffrey

3. Love! Valour! Compassion!

4. The Ritz

5. To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar

6. Brokeback Mountain

7. Cruising

Tuesday Trivia - Men Who Love Men

I'm feeling a wee bit heterophobic at the moment, so today's movies all revolve around the gay male experience.

1. He was dumped by a Whiffenpoof. (Solved by Veles.)

2. "Maybe you didn't hear me. I'm a Catholic priest. Historically, that falls somewhere between chorus boy and florist." (Solved by Melville.)

3. Eight friends spend three banking holidays together. (Solved by Veles.)

4. He's a businessman, hiding from his mobster brother-in-law, but a lounge singer thinks he's a producer. (Solved by Brian.)

5. "I know what you want. Do you know what you career girls want?" "Careers?"
(Solved by Veles.)

6. She says her husband was killed in an accident. He doesn't believe her.
(Solved by Debra.)

7. Deep undercover in the Meatpacking District. (Solved by Debra.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ring My Bell

A late-night chat with an online buddy:

Him - “You should get Skype so that we can finally talk face-to-face.”

Me - “Dude… you know we’ve met in person, right?”

Him - “We have? When?”

Me - “At PantheaCon 2008. We sat next to each other during the ‘Dangerous Herbs of the Witches’ workshop.”

Him - “We did?”

Me - “Yep. After that, we hung out in the GLBT hospitality suite, where we got into a lengthy debate about the merits of emerging shamanic paths versus British Traditional Wicca…”

Him - “Okay, I did go the hospitality suite. But to be honest, I drank a lot that weekend. And I met tons of people. It’s all kind of a blur. I’m sorry, but I just don’t remember you.”

Me - “… and then a drop-dead gorgeous, 7-foot-tall guy with dark, soulful eyes and really large hands told us about the time he got fucked in the ass on a church altar.”

[beat]

Him – “Oh. My. God.”

Me – “Yeah.”

Him – “Oh, my God, Evn!!! We were out on the balcony, you were wearing a green plaid shirt and standing to my left, it was a balmy evening with a light breeze blowing in from the Southwest…”

And that’s how you jog a memory.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Huzzah!

Good job, guys! Alison Bechdel is very proud of you. Probably. I haven't asked.

1. Bound

2. Aliens

3. Hairspray

4. Arsenic & Old Lace

5. Clueless

6. Empire Records

7. The Opposite of Sex

Tuesday Trivia - The Bechdel Test

In order to pass The Bechdel Test, a movie must a) feature at least two women, b) who talk to each other, c) about something besides a man. The following films all qualify.

1. "If there's one thing I can't stand about sleeping with women, it's all the fucking mind-reading." (Solved by Veles.)

2. Him: "Have you ever been mistaken for a man?" Her: "No. Have you?"
(Solved by Yvonne.)

3. "Love is a gift. A lot of people don't remember that. So you two better brace yourselves for a whole lot of ugly coming at you from a neverending parade of stupid." (Solved by Rebelleink.)

4. "Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops." (Solved by Annye.)

5. "Why should I listen to you, anyway? You're a virgin who can't drive."
(Solved by Melville.)

6. "Well, Sinead O'Rebellion. Shock me shock me shock me with that deviant behavior." (Solved by Veles.)

7. "If you think I'm just plucky, and scrappy, and all I need is love, you're in over your heads." (Solved by Veles.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

The open letter I'm waiting for

Dear Citizens of the United States of America,

Thank you for not electing another fuckwit. Please accept this as a token of our deep appreciation.

Sincerely,

The Norwegian Nobel Committee

Friday, October 09, 2009

In the words of the Captain of Road Prison 36...

Jack and I had a huge fight last night: A real fist-shaking, door-slamming, make-the-neighbors-uncomfortable kind of affair. At one point, having exhausted all of my arguments, I kicked over the coffee table. This did not, as I'd predicted, clarify my position. It did, however, scare the fuck out of the cats, so at least something good came out of it.

Somewhere along the line, Jack and I lost the ability to communicate. We talk, and we listen, but neither one of us can understand what the other is trying to say, which infuriates both of us. We're like what would've happened if Abbot & Costello had been cast in Enemy Mine.

Here's an excerpt from a recent telephone conversation:

"Hello?"

"Hi! Do you work today?"

"That's why you called?"

"Um... yeah. See, I was wondering if..."

"I'm off tomorrow."

"Okay, but do you work today?"

"You already know that I'm off tomorrow."

"I do understand that you're off tomorrow. But I wanted to ask..."

"My vacation starts tomorrow afternoon."

"Yes. Yes, it does. But I don't know what your schedule is today."

"And I just told you that I don't work tomorrow."

[beat]

"Let's try this again. Do you work today?"

"Tomor-"

"Do you work today?"

"My vaca-"

"Do. You. Work. To. Day?"

[extended pause]

"I am working today."

"Okay. Okay, great, thank you. Are you working a morning or evening shift?"

"I'm off tomorrow."

[cue laugh track; applause]

What kills me is that away from each other, we're both excellent communicators. I've been a professional writer and editor for eight years; prior to that, Jack worked in radio for 14 years. We know our shit, y'know? We're both really talented when it comes to expressing ourselves. But put us in the same room, and we're immediately stricken with aphasia.

Thank the Gods we never adopted. We would've had to hire interpreters.

Aside from showing the cats who's boss, last night's screamfest did provide a little insight into why we're so terrible at interacting with one another. I tend to read body language, watching for physical clues that tell me whether or not I've gotten a particular point across. Jack pays more attention to words themselves, and derives the intended message without the use of non-verbals. So, for instance, I'll say something like (quoting Belle) "When you told me blah blah I felt blee blah because mergh," and Jack will respond based on the words I've used, and I'll respond to that based on his body language, and both of us start feeling like we're not being heard, and then furniture gets broken.

Maybe we're both overthinking this. Like, if we'd just communicate instead of trying so damn hard to communicate, we'd have less reason to be pissed off all the time. Or maybe a gypsy put a curse on us. Hard to say. But I do hope we get through this. I hope that one day, we'll be able to chat like old friends. And most of all, I hope when that day comes, we really will be old friends.

Time will tell.

So I will do my best to listen.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Three Little Words

Batman: The Musical.

Red Delicious explains.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tuesday Trivia - Solutions

Well done, my Loyal Strifemongers! Not a single hint needed.

But don't rest on your laurels, pumpkins. Once Deborah's elite cadre of movie experts finds out that Tuesday Trivia has migrated over here, they are going to Bring It. I suggest memorizing IMDB.

Seriously.

That said...

1. School Ties

2. The 13th Warrior

3. Hocus Pocus

4. Stigmata

5. Clash of the Titans

6. Season of the Witch

7. The Ten Commandments

Keep up the good work!

Tuesday Trivia 2.0

For the past four years, Deborah has hosted a weekly movie trivia quiz on her blog. It was a smash success and a jolly old time from the very beginning, but unfortunately, Deborah's super-swamped with work and outside projects, and needed to suspend the game indefinitely.

But never fear, Loyal Property-of-a-Ladyites! Me being afflicted with a chronic impulse disorder an altruistic go-getter, I volunteered to host the show from here on out. Below you'll find seven clues to seven movies. Post your guesses in the comments section; hints (if necessary) will go up tomorrow, and the answers will be revealed on Thursday.

In keeping with the nature of my own blog, this week's theme is Religious Strife. En garde!

---

1. Takes place at a boarding school. According to my Fundamentalist aunt, the lead actor "isn't Jewish in real life." (Solved by Melville.)

2. He fights with a big-ass sword. She fights with a bear claw dipped in poison. It's pretty much a tie. (Solved by Miakoda.)

3. Two of the Witches appeared together in a later film, this time as an ex-wife and a trophy wife. (Solved by Cat.)

4. Ironically, the actor portraying the Catholic priest went on to play Satan in his next movie. (Solved by Miakoda.)

5. "Once he even tried to ravish me disguised as a cuttlefish." "Did he succeed?"
(Solved by Veles.)

6. She forgot to attend church on the first day of Lent. Fortunately, there are ashes in the fireplace. (Solved by Veles.)

7. The orgy scene alone took three weeks to film. (Solved by Kitty.)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Why I Hate Wal-Mart

Me: "Pardon me, but where are your restrooms?"

First Wal-Mart Employee: (gesturing to the Northeast) "Straight over yonder."

[ten minutes later]

Me: "Ma'am? Hi. Where can I find a restroom?"

Second Wal-Mart Employee: "The restrooms? They're right back that way, next to where Shoes used to be."

[ten minutes later]

Me: (starting to shake) "Please tell me where the restrooms are."

Third Wal-Mart Employee: "Okay. What you're going to want to do is this: Go back the way you came, and..." [I swear I am not making this up] "...look for the intersection of Toys and Walmart.com."

[ten minutes later]

Me: (curled in the fetal position, somewhere in the uncharted backwoods of Electronics) "Can't... hold it... any... longer..."

Fourth Wal-Mart Employee: "Sir? Am I to understand that you're looking for the restroon? Please take this ball of string and follow me through the Labyrinth."

I'm fully aware that I spent a good portion of Thursday bitching about the minor inconveniences of online shopping. With that acknowledged, if I never again in this lifetime patronize an establishment larger than a linen closet, it will be too goddamned soon.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Other White Meats

Disgruntled Vegan Employee: "I like animals more than people."

Me: "I do, too. They taste better."

And then she got all offended and gave me the Vegan Glare, which I just dismissed as a lack of omega-3 fatty acids in her diet.

Somebody please explain to me how I ended up in management.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I have issues. And statues. But mainly issues.

Instead of, oh, I don't know, working, I spent the morning on an occult retail Web site, gazing longingly at a Goddess statue I don't really need. This is one of the drawbacks of a polytheistic worldview: There is no such thing as too many Goddess statues. (Even though, let's face it, there probably should be.)

If I were a little more pantheistic, I could just grab one of those standard-issue, Faceless And Vaguely Woman-Shaped With Handless Arms Raised High figurines and be done with it. But no, I've got to make sure Everyone has Their own votive. I may be convinced that St. Expedite and Thoth are ultimately the same divine being, but I couldn't rest until I found two different representations of Them, both of which are currently nestled in equal but separate areas of my living room.

Sometimes I worry that I've conflated "sincere religious devotion" with "neurosis."

Speaking of, one of my other fun personality quirks is marked indecision when it comes to spending money, coupled with mild obsessive-compulsive tendencies. The two together make for a fabulous inner monologue:

"Okay, I'm going to buy this statue. No, wait, I'm not. Although it's not that expensive. But I spent way too much in Boston. But what if they sell out before my next pay period? Good point! I'm going to buy it right now." [click] "Huh. Shipping's more than I thought it would be. I should wait a month. Yes, I'll wait until next month. Or next week. Tomorrow, maybe? Oh, just buy it." [click click] "There. And then click on 'submit,' and... no, wait, let's really think about this..."

[Repeat for five hours]

Th psychic deadlock eventually wore me down, and I decided that this was a job for divination. I opened a desk drawer and pulled out one of my geomancy decks (I keep one deck at home and another at the office, because there's something wrong with me), drew a card, and... Laetitia. Not thrifty advice.

Oooh, time for another quick geomancy lecture. The sixteen geomantic figures can be divided into two categories, based on their inherent stability or mobility. In a yes/no reading, a stable figure means yes, and a mobile figure means no. Unless (there's always a catch) Laetitia appears, in which case the message is "No, but do it anyway."

So I bought the statue. Because a bunch of dots told me to. Yay for geomancy! Yay for statues! Except...

I'm not what one would call blessed with that virtue known as "patience." I normally try to avoid online shopping all together, since not being able to get my hands on the merchandise right this very second often results in me flushing vast amounts of cash away on next-day delivery. This particular metaphysical shop does not offer multiple shipping options, which did save me a few bucks. However, as soon as I a made my purchase, I received an e-mail confirmation that was all, "Thank you for your valued business. Your order will ship in one to four weeks. Or January. What day is it again? We're a little high right now."

So basically, I'm being held hostage by Pagan Standard Time, with nothing but my eleventy-billion other statues to comfort me. I'll bet this is exactly how the Amish feel.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

8 Miles Wide

Y'know, considering I'm a freshly-minted initiate of a Gay Mystery cult, I'm really starting to wonder why I can't get this song out of my head:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Beantown on a Broomstick, Part the Second

The evening of the Fall Equinox found me on a train heading North, where, once again, I managed to misunderstand the payment system.

After we embarked, a porter came by and asked for my ticket. I handed her my light-rail transit card. She did not think this amusing.

"This is a commuter train," she said flatly. "We don't accept transit cards."

Nor did they accept credit cards. And I didn't have any cash on me. I'm pretty sure she wanted to punch me. Instead, she took my driver's license and wrote down my address. I'll be getting a bill for $5.25, payable to the State of Massachusetts, in four to six weeks. But at least they didn't kick me off, because that would've been unfriendly to my enterprises.

The whole point of this leg of my journey was to meet face-to-face with a Minos (High Priest) of the Minoan Brotherhood and present myself as a candidate for initiation. Which... well, happened. And it's funny, because I've been sort of secretly fascinated by the Minoan Brotherhood ever since I first heard about it, but until very recently I never pursued it the way I did Traditional Wicca. When introduced to Minoan initiates at pub moots or parties, I'd be polite but not express curiosity. If asked if I was interested in the tradition, I always responded, "It's really not something I want to look into right now." Even though it was. And it took a verbal smack upside the head for me to figure out why.

I was on the phone with Deborah awhile back, complaining about relationship issues and what-not, and I don't remember exactly what I said that sent up a red flag, but she suddenly cut me off and went, "Wow. You are really uncomfortable being gay." This was not an easy thing to hear, mainly because it's true: I'm not particularly comfortable with my homosexuality. I mean, I don't see it as a bad thing, or something of which I should be ashamed, but sometimes being gay feels like wearing a suit that's a little too big. Or like when I was a kid and my family would go to the beach, and everyone else would play in the surf while I hung out at the hotel pool, because it wasn't as scary as the ocean.

My various attempts at queer spirituality were supposed to fix this, but they didn't, and sometimes they just plain exacerbated the situation. I'm thinking of the Radical Faerie circles Jack and I used to attend, which always seemed to denigrate from celebratory to giggly-naughty, i.e. "In this ritual, we're going to be skyclad, tee hee!" Granted, a good time was generally had by all, but it quickly became clear that what we were doing was less about honoring our specialness and more of an excuse to get grabby. Which in itself led to serious drama, usually when some of the "committed and monogamous" Faeries couldn't seem to keep their hands out of other Faeries' sarongs.

So there was that, coupled with the whole Gardnerian issue. Thing is, I love being Gardnerian. I love our rituals and the Gods we venerate and my Co-Witches. Love 'em. Unfortunately, within the gay ghettos of NeoPaganism, British Traditional Wicca is often... not frowned-up, exactly, but viewed as... geez, what's the word I'm looking for, dismissible? Unworkable? Obsolete? Whatever, long story short, I get weird looks from gay Pagans when I tell them I’m Gardnerian, and sometimes they don't want to play with me anymore.

The obvious solution is, of course, stop telling them, you moron. But acceptance is a twisty little monster. When straight Pagans get huffy with me about being Gardnerian, I offer them a cheerful "fuck off" and go on with my life. When gay Pagans give me grief over it, I get twitchy and angry and desperately want them to like me.

This, methinks, be not beneficial.

And sadly, this is also what kept me away from the Minoan Brotherhood, even when it should've been a no-brainer. [And not just in terms of homosexuality: When I was 16, I wrote a term paper on the enduring influence of the Minoan Snake Goddess in classical Greek mythology. I received a solid A, because, quoth my high school English professor, "I honestly have no clue how to grade this."] But a week ago tonight, I managed to step out of my insecurities and give my full trust to a fellow gay Pagan, knowing I was in the right place at the right time, doing what was right for me. And knowing that this particular path would not be an option if I wasn't the gay man I am.

Through this experience, something just on the edge of definable clicked. Within the Gardnerian Tradition, I found the family I'd always wanted. Within the Minoan Brotherhood, I found a key, missing piece of myself, a piece which fits perfectly between my healthy self image and (I'm owning it) my sacred sexuality.

The train trip back to Boston was a whole nother adventure.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beantown on a Broomstick, Part the First

I just got back from Boston, where I spent the past week celebrating my birthday (okay, fine, that was mercenary, whatever) with my brother, his wife (they live there) and my parents (they drove up). My brother's apartment isn't quite big enough to accommodate five people comfortably, so he booked me a room at the Samuel Sewall Inn, a quaint little bed-and-breakfast around the corner from his place. And it was adorable. It was darling. It was... named after one of the judges of the Salem witch trials:

Holy shit! This is a trap!

Upon calming down and doing some research, I discovered that after the trials, Sewall recanted everything and became a women's rights activist. Knowing this made me feel a little safer sleeping there.

First up on my family's itinerary was a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. I was not terribly excited at this prospect, as I am not a baseball fan. Whatsoever. I mean, I know a couple of my Loyal Strifemongers believe that baseball is a metaphor for life, and I hate to break this to them, but they're wrong. Hockey is a metaphor for life: The rules are incomprehensible, and everyone gets hurt. That said, I've never had an experience quite like watching a Red Sox game. The energy at the park is intense enough to measure on the Richter Scale, and halfway through the eighth inning, everyone jumps up and sings "Sweet Caroline" at the top of their lungs. For, like, no discernible reason. It was surreal. Or possibly Postmodern. I'm not sure which. I'd had a few beers by that point.

Once my parents headed back to Texas, I decided to have an adventure and hopped a ferry to Salem, where my buddy N. agreed to show me the sights. He's lived in the Salem area for most of his life and is decidedly over the tourist kitch, but he was very accommodating when I demanded to see the statue of Samantha Stevens and then dragged him through the Witch Museum. And oh, ye Gods, the Witch Museum. It was like walking into a Dennis Wheatley novel, and I had no choice but to buy a commemorative T-shirt. Oh, and also we almost got kicked out, because N. turned on one of the talking displays in the Witches: Evolving Perceptions exhibit ("I am a midwife! You might call me a Pagan.") before the museum employee who was trying to lead a guided tour could get to it. So that was entertaining.

My brother and sister-in-law both had to work the next day, so I figured out how to navigate the subway system and went to meet (get ready) Famous Pagan Artist Thalia Took! Squeeeee! And she was lovely and funny and snarky and I would've totally proposed to her except for that whole "I'm a big homo" thing, which is really just a technicality but still kind of a deal-breaker. Anyway, we drank iced hot chocolates and wandered around Harvard Square, looking for the law office of Dewey, Cheetham & Howe (we didn't find it) and having a platonically gay old time. Thalia also explained the importance of paying for subway rides, which, coming from a city with nigh nonexistent mass transit, hadn't really occurred to me. I apparently owe Boston a lot of money.

Someone remind me to send a check.

More to come.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Quote o' the Moment - Proper Etiquette

"Can a magician kill a man with magic?" Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. "I suppose a magician might," he admitted, "but a gentleman never could."

-From Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Things Witches Say

"I need to go back to the Temple and find my underwear."

Friday, September 04, 2009

If he calls you next, just say "The Bible."

My phone rang promptly at 6:55 this morning. Caller ID listed Co-Witch A.'s number, so I scrambled to answer, hoping nothing was wrong.

"Hello?"

"Hi Evn!" said Co-Witch A., in a voice that was perky yet murderous. "Do you have a sec?"

"Sure," I said cautiously. "What's up?"

"Well, Sean was supposed to conduct a survey for school this week, but he forgot about it, and it's due today. So now we're calling people who are usually awake at this ungodly hour. Would you mind answering some questions for him?"

"No problem!" I said, since I'm always happy to be of assistance to Sean, and I'd very much prefer that Co-Witch A. not wind up on the evening news. "Put him on."

"Hi Evn," Sean said. I could hear growling in the background, which I quickly understood to be Co-Witch A. reminding him to thank me for my help. "Thanks for your help! I'm just going to ask you a few questions about reading. Do you like to read?"

"Yes," I said.

"Okay," he replied. "Do you read for entertainment or for information?"

"Both."

"Where do you normally like to read?"

"My living room."

"Cool. What's your favorite book?"

"Hmm, let's see..."

"Your favorite book that would be appropriate to discuss at my school."

Yes, that's right, I just got clocked by a 10-year-old, who was fully prepared for me to toss out The Story of O or Llewellyn's Practical Guide to Ritual Disembowelment in response to a 5th-grade literature survey and felt the need to put his foot down before I could answer. The kid knows me too well.

I ended up saying that my favorite book was Blue Heaven, which is a very funny novel, but, I realized a second too late, one that goes on and on about homosexuality and recreational drug use. Again, maybe not terribly appropriate. So then I tried to change my answer to Maybe The Moon, which is another wonderful novel, but one which also goes on and on about homosexuality and recreational drug use and the interracial sex lives of dwarves.

Why I couldn't have come up with something like Anne of Green Gables is anyone's guess. Granted, it's totally Sean's fault for waiting until the last minute, but I really, really, really hope his teacher doesn't start poking around on Amazon.com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mind Over Melancholia

Here's another fun comic book analogy for you.

Way back in the mid 80's, during a stressy period in the lives of the X-Men, the second Phoenix went kind of berserk and decided to whack Selene, the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. Phoenix broke into Selene's residence and proceeded to go all Medieval, but then Wolverine showed up and tried to reason with her. I don't remember the exact dialogue, but it went something like this:

Wolverine - "Vengeance goes against everything the X-Men stand for."

Phoenix - "Rahr!"

Wolverine - "Please calm down."

Phoenix - "I will, I will. Right after I finish kicking Selene's butt."

Wolverine - "Really, I mean it. You're starting to freak me out."

Phoenix - "The only way to stop me, Logan, is to kill me!"

Wolverine - "Fine. Stab stab!"

Phoenix - "Ow! Dude, you are such an asshole."

Selene - "Okay, wow. This is awkward."

And so it was. In a valiant attempt to Do The Right Thing, Wolverine ran his claws through Phoenix's heart. But she survived, against all odds, by using her mighty telekinetic abilities to hold her wounds together. She couldn't concentrate her powers on anything else, but she survived.

I find myself in a similar position.

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped practicing Witchcraft. Not intentionally--I mean, it wasn't like there was some formal passing-of-the-athame or a reintroduction to Anglicanism, just that all the regular, Witchy aspects of my life mysteriously dried up. No lighting of candles or burning of incense; I can't remember the last time I worked up a geomantic chart, and I completely forgot to hold my annual Nemoralia celebration.

Oh, but I did attend a guided meditation workshop. I'm told my snoring was gentle and not at all distracting to the other participants.

I wake up every morning and go to work. I put in eight or nine hours, come home, watch TV, have a couple of cocktails and go to bed. On the weekends, I hang out a British pub around the corner with a few old college buddies. Realistically, I should be screaming and crying and grieving the death of a 7-year relationship and refusing to leave my apartment, but instead I'm going about my daily routine and maintaining a relatively positive outlook, just without any of the occult interests I'd normally spend all my free time cultivating.

It's weird to feel normal, when by all rights I should be wasting away. Hell, it's weird to feel normal period, and not like a Practitioner of the Dark Arts in Good Standing. I like feeling like a Practitioner of the Dark Arts in Good Standing. It's a big chunk of how I define myself. But it's gone at the moment, and I think it's because the part of my mind/spirit/whatever that would normally be focused on the metaphysical is now dedicated to holding my wounds together.

On one hand, this is a good thing: A couple of nuclear meltdowns nonwithstanding, I'm handling this whole crappy situation way better than I ever thought I could. Plus it's cool to be able to identify with one of my favorite superheroes. On the other hand, I miss Witchcraft. I miss being the Great and Terrible Evn. But I don't have the emotional strength right now to be anything other than... well, me.

After her showdown with Wolverine, Phoenix went away for a while, then snagged her own limited series and made a spectacular comeback with the Excalibur franchise. This morning, one of our receptionists dropped by my office with a package. Seems I'd won a contest over at Good Mom/Bad Mom (totally slipped my mind), my prize being the following:

My first thought as I gazed upon my tumescent little tchotchke was What in the HELL am I supposed to do with this?

My next thought was Feature it as the centerpiece of a shrine devoted to the Ancestors of Men Who Love Men, as revealed by the Unnamed Path. Then go clean your altar.

I'm ressurecting nicely. Slowly, but nicely. Phoenix would be proud.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm not dead

Quiet, and kind of sleepy, but not dead.

And I'm going to be fine.

New posts soon, Loyal Strifemongers. Stay tuned to this channel.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Quote o' the Moment - The End of an Era

"'But some things can be fixed,' you say. True, but can your relationship be fixed? Anything is possible, but we'd say probably not. Generally, if one person thinks that the breakup is the right move, they're probably right even if it feels so wrong. Because unless there are two people putting on the coveralls and getting down in the trenches with some duct tape and superglue and a fierce determination, it isn't going to happen. Need more convincing? How about this: The person you loved took a good look at the awesomeness that is you, evaluated your relationship together, and said, 'No, thanks. I'll try my luck elsewhere.' Or you said it to him. Either way, that alone should make you realize that it wasn't a match made in heaven and they're not worth donning coveralls for. Anyone who assesses you or your relationship as disposable is not worth your time or tears.

"Right now, your brain is probably working overtime to come up with all the reasons that you should still be together. Your heart is hurting and your mind wants to find a way to undo the pain. Just remember, though, that any reasons you come up with are ultimately irrelevant. The harsh reality is that even if you have everything else in common, the one thing you don't have in common is the belief that this relationship can work. That, my friend, trumps your shared love of puppies, The Dave Matthews Band, and Mexican food."

-Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt

Friday, July 24, 2009

Best. Wedding. Ever.

I have no clue who these people are, nor do I particularly care. All I know is that straight, gay, bi or Thai, this is the level of exuberant joy that should be expressed whenever two people in love officially announce their intent to spend the rest of their lives together:



And yes, I cried like a baby. So enjoy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My therapist says the darndest things

Him - "Evn, you're really doing a great job processing your current issues."

Me - "Thanks!"

Him - "So now, let's work on making sure you don't turn into a paranoid psychopath."

Me - "Touché."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fun with Annunciation Enunciation

Me - "Hey, I need advice."

Sarah - "You need a vise?"

Me - "Um... no, I already have plenty of vices."

Sarah - "I'm confused."

And so on.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Inanna Speaks

Howdee do, y'all. Curtsy.

Strifemongers, did I not just say "curtsy"?

[Insert a moment to let you people collect yourselves and learn to follow orders.]

Better. That's better.

For those who have not had the pleasure, my name is Inanna Dentata. Which, roughly translated, means "She who turns men into women with teeth." And I am Evn's inner drag queen.

Oh, don't even try to act surprised. Stereotypes aside and squelched under one of my (fabulous, you can only hope to one day own knock-off trash vaguely resembling these) heels, every gay man has an inner drag queen. And sometimes--please do excuse the pun--we come out.

In this case, Evn has spent the past 24 hours obsessed with Facebook, desperately trying to reconnect with people from his graduating high school class. (Read: He didn't like them, they didn't like him, but suddenly, sixteen years later, he's feeling all nostalgic. Whatever, butch.) Regardless, with his conscious mind all distracted, I figured I'd seize this particular opportunity and introduce myself to his readers.

You're welcome.

I said curtsy.

So here's the long [bats eyelashes] and short of it: Anytime Evn starts whining to himself about how nice it would be to feel normal, how nice it would be to feel mainstream, how nice it would be to not identify as a gay Witch with a beer belly, I am going to elbow my way onto the dance floor and remind him that normal ain't anywhere near as relevant as special.

Because whether or not his tired ass realizes it, he's special.

And so are all of you.

Now prance, bitches.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Quote o' the Moment - Flint Knives

"When someone says to me, 'My Granny brought me into the Craft and taught me all I know,' it is a bit like saying, 'I've started a new line of flint knives in my cutler's shop.' The first question I always ask is, 'Surely you've got beyond that?'"

-Evan John Jones

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just Us Girls

Um, yeah, about that whole blog award thing: I’ve just learned that I’m a wee bit ineligible, on account of... well, I’m a dude. The award is actually destined for the funniest female blogger. Which explains why there are so many mommy blogs in my category.

Not that I have anything against mommy blogs, mind you. Mommies are cool. In fact, I was raised by a mommy, and I turned out perfectly fine. Well-adjusted, even.

(cough)

I do appreciate the votes that came in, and I will totally sacrifice many goats in Yvonne’s honor for nominating me in the first place (she spilled). However, I will also demand written proof that she’s read all the fine print before I ever let her nominate me for anything else.

PS: With LoS out of the running, let’s make sure The Bloggess wins. Her am me favorite.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I need a red-carpet gown, stat

Holy shitballs, guys, I've been nominated for a blog award!

I'm not sure how, or why, or who is responsible for this, but I'm bouncing off the walls right now. And also, I need a favor.

Remember that time all my Strifemongers voted for that relative of mine who had an entry in an art show? And then we completely fucked up the polls? Well, I need you to click here, then click on "Funniest Blog," find the entry for Lover of Strife, and do it again.

Only one vote per e-mail per day allowed. Please don't get me disqualified.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Transamerican Idol

Back in college, my friend Zemkat sat a group of us down to make a very difficult announcement:

Zemkat – “I suppose you're wondering why I've gathered you here. The thing is, I have something important to tell you, and you may not initially understand, but I hope that as my friends, you'll give me the chance to fully explain myself and the decisions I've had to make. You see... I’m... I'm going to transition from female to male.”

The Rest of Us – “Yeah, we know.”

Zemkat – “And I realize that this may come as a shock, but... wait, what?

The Rest of Us – “We pretty much figured it out on our own. But hey, no big deal. We support you.”

Zemkat – “What exactly do you mean by ‘figured it out’?”

The Rest of Us – “Well, it’s just that you've been reading all those books on gender reassignment. And you've been living as a man for the past year and a half. So, y'know, we've had time to process.”

[awkward silence]

Zemkat – “Could somebody at least pretend to be horrified?”

Zemkat’s Roommate – “Okay... okay, I think I can close this. Zemkat, your... um... your ‘deviant lifestyle'... like, frightens... and... confuses me?”

[another awkward silence]

Zemkat’s Roommate - “Did I get that right?”

Zemkat – “I hate all of you.”

Zemkat’s Roommate [whispering to everyone else] - “I totally called internalized transphobia. Pay up.”

After a fair amount of seething, Zemkat finally decided that we were probably pretty cool for not flipping out. Zemkat the girl became Zemkat the boy, and life as we knew it went on.

Until last week, that is, when he came over to tell me about his latest out-patient procedure:

Zemkat - "I just got electrolysis!"

Me - "I'm sorry, but aren't you currently in the business of growing hair? What's up with electrolysis?"

Zemkat - "I got tired of shaving my neck."

Me - "You got electrolysis on your neck?"

Zemkat - "Yes! It was reasonably priced and only mildly painful."

Me - "You... you cheated!"

Zemkat - "I don't follow."

Me - "Dude, we all hate shaving our necks. It's annoying and irritating and causes acne, and that's just the way it is. It's an integral part of the masculine experience, and you weaseled out of it."

Zemkat - "I don't know from weaseling. And also, I never have to shave my neck again. Be sure to think about me next time you're picking bloody pieces of toilet paper off of your face before a performance review."

Me - You're a bad man. A very, very bad man."

Zemkat - "So do you want the number of the clinic or not?"

Me - [mumbling] "Maybe."

[Because here's the thing. I've spent a lot of time being complacent about the parts of myself I don't like, but at the same time worrying about how other people perceive me. And while I was mucking about in a swamp of self-esteem issues, Zemkat realized, "I may be uncomfortable in my own skin, but I also have the power to do something about it." He's my hero that way, and he inspires me to take control of my own life and do whatever I need to do to be happy and confident.]

Zemkat - "I can't heeeeeaaar you."

[But he doesn't need to know all that.]

Me - "I said, 'Infidel.'"

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Worsted Blue Blogginess

I completely forgot to tell you guys! I've started contributing to a postmodern feminist blog. And I am probably going to screw this up and say something offensive or insensitive and piss off the entire online feminist community and have to go into Witness Protection very excited about it.

Anyway, please do take a moment to drop by The Bluestocking. It'll be good for what ails ye. And by "ye," I mean "the patriarchy."

ETA: When writing for The Bluestocking, I am known as Chalmers "Dauntless" Z. Vanderbilt, cousin of Angharad "Bunny" V. Setherwood. Long story.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Bigger the Penis, the Closer to God

So I was over at Co-Witch A.’s place today, and we got in this debate about whether the gigantic lingam she’d put on her altar was, like, phallic-licous enough. (Her: “I think it needs something to make it more obvious.” Me: “Like what, a come-hither smile?”)

Then she kicked Co-Witch K. and Co-Witch B. out of her house and made them go sit on the back porch, because they were dancing around and singing disco tunes while she was trying to make some very important decisions regarding ornamental representations of human genitalia.

And that’s why fertility cults are awesome. The End.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Glee Club of the Damned

Rejoice, my fellow children of the 80's! An iconic moment from our adolescence has finally been explicated:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I may not be fluent in Sci-Fi, but I'm conversational enough to get my point across

Sarah - "I hated the new Star Trek movie."

Me - "I'm sorry, but I am not at liberty to discuss the new Star Trek movie."

Sarah - "Why not?"

Me - "You know how, in the Marvel Comics Universe, the US government passed the Superhuman Registration Act, and a group of superheroes led by Iron Man supported the legislation, while another group of superheroes led by Captain America opposed it? And then the X-Men came forward and declared neutrality?"

Sarah - "Yes. Yes, I'm aware."

Me - "Okay. In this situation, you're Captain America, Jack's Iron Man, and I'm the X-Men."

Sarah - "Ah. I understand your position completely. 'Nuff said."

And you know what's scary? Ever since we had that conversation, I just can't stop thinking, "Hell yeah, I'm a motherfucking X-Man."

Freakin' finally.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

T-shirts are Freudian. Or Jungian. Or something.

I had a weird dream last night. As scripted by the executive producers who loiter about out in my head:

On a rainy weekend morning, Treecat drove me to the outskirts of San Jose, California, and dropped me off at a retreat center, where Bo and I were working as volunteer counselors at a summer camp for troubled teens and/or developmentally-disabled adults (that part was kind of hazy), none of whom caused us any problems. And that was it.

What got me was how normal everything was. Usually, the dreams I can remember are high intensity and make no damn sense. This time, it was just me going to orientation and checking in on the group sessions and taking a cigarette break. On top of that, I woke up exhausted... although when you think about it, I basically went to bed, put in a full day's work, got up and went to the office.

I wish I hadn't picked this week to cut coffee out of my diet, because hot tea is not cutting it right now.

Noted author and occultist Draja Mickaharic contends that vivid dreams clean the subconscious of blocked energy, thus resolving and releasing it. I fully embrace this theory. For example, I once had a dream in which my twin brother and I were walking through the neighborhood where we lived when we were kids, my arm resting comfortably on his shoulder. And as we entered our childhood home, just the two of us after so many years, I slammed his face into the front door.

Now that was a release of unresolved energy. But summer camp? Troubled teens and/or developmentally-disabled adults? Matching T-shirts? (We were all wearing matching T-shirts.)

I don't get it. Anyone got a background in psychoanalysis?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Success has clearly gone to my head

As a follow-up to that Big Name Pagan thread...

"So what all do you have going on today?" Jack asked.

"Well, let's see," I said. "I need to do some shopping and run by the office, and I'm going over to Co-Witch B's house tonight. Oh, and I'm also supposed to give Deborah a call, but I don't think I'll have time for that."

"Excuse me?" Jack said. "You're planning to blow off Deborah Lipp?"

"Of course not," I replied. "It's just going to be a busy day, and..."

"You know, three years ago you were all, 'ZOMG, Famous Wiccan Author Deborah Lipp reads my blog!!!' And now you're like, 'Oh, I simply can't be bothered to speak with her.'"

The rat bastard. He's not even Pagan.

Deborah says hello.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Honey, A+ for effort. The rest of the class fails.

One of the members of that Houston-based Pagan list I moderate has spent months trying to get a serious discussion going. Most recently, she posted a document titled Twelve Signs of Spiritual Awakening and asked if anyone was familiar with it.

To be frank, "signs of spiritual awakening" are a little too indigo for my tastes, but I'm hesitant to say so in a public forum. One's perception of the spiritual is a deeply personal thing; just because something isn't particularly glowy to me doesn't mean it's not important to someone else, and vice versa. In my experience, the best course of action when faced with... let's say, a rationality-deficient metaphysical concept is to nod and smile, thereby evoking the same in return.

With that in mind, here, in order of appearance, are the responses the Spiritual Awakening post has received so far:

Shoot, and I thought most of this was just menopause and getting older.

Sounds amazingly like what Jim Jones and David Korresh told their followers, along with a few hundred other cult leaders.

Sounds like menopause to me - hahahahaha

Jim Jones was really crazy. They say he was a big time speed freak.

Soy milk is supposed to be good for menopause.


Awesome.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My BNPs can beat up your BNPs

After reading Cat's wonderful post on the nature of fame in the Pagan community, as well as the subsequent reviews on The Wild Hunt and The Stroppy Rabbit, I need to make a confession.

I drop the names of my famous Pagan friends into casual conversations. But I only do it to make other people feel insignificant. So that's totally okay.

Before you dismiss me as a complete dickhead, let me explain. We don't really have standard-issue Big Name Pagans in Texas. We are, however, infested with people who believe themselves to be BNPs... or, more accurately, people who would like the rest of us to understand that they could be BNPs. Unfortunately, they're just too darn modest and down-to-earth to accept their rightful places in the NeoPagan firmament.

"Someone actually asked if I was ever going to write a book!" they'll say, feigning wide-eyed disbelief that their fellow New Agers would think so highly of them. "Can you believe that? Just because I have 35 years of experience and a direct link to the Divine and 60 generations of Witches in my family and an official certificate of appreciation from the Goddess Herself and a Lulu account, people think I should write books! Little ol' me! Me me me! Ha ha!"

When dealing with this particular species of yutz, name-dropping is decidedly not recommended. If you say something like, "You know, a friend of mine just put out a new book," they'll shove a ringbinder into your arms and scream, "Tell her to read my manuscript!" No, name-dropping is reserved for those locals who talk about their relationships with BNPs in the same way that they claim to be initiates of ancient Mystery traditions (i.e., "There's no way for anyone to prove I'm lying"), not realizing that I am much, much better at psychological warfare than they are.

The last time I went to a pub moot, I spent most of the evening watching a pasty young man spin tales of his great and powerful Witchiness for an appreciative female audience. I swear I didn't have plans to engage him or smack him around or anything, but then he said the Magic Words:

"I grew up with Isaac Bonewits' son."

I couldn't resist. "Ohmigod, you know Arthur?"

"Um, who?" He asked.

"Arthur," I said. "Isaac Bonewits' son."

He stuttered a little. "So... you know Isaac Bonewits?"

"Oh, geez, no," I said with a carefree smile. "But I'm friends with Arthur's mom. It's so cool that you know him! I'll tell him you said hi."

And then he was all, "Uh, Ireallywishyouwouldn'tdothat," and added that he didn't exactly grow up with Isaac Bonewits' son as much as he maybe kind of hung out with him a little at a festival once. The girls sitting next to him glanced at each other and drifted away.

Okay, so I am a complete dickhead. But I'm also a fan of truth in advertising.

The two pretty much cancel each other out.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

This probably won't go horribly awry

Pax, my very proactive Chief Priest, has been making noises about organizing an official StrifeFest, wherein Strifemongers from around the globe would converge on a specific location, hang out for a few days and get to know one another sans Internet.

Self-serving though it may be, I really like the idea--if anything, my readers seem to get along well. Unfortunately, such an endeavor is far beyond my managerial skills. Plus I don't think I could fit all 58 of you in my guest bedroom.

So instead, I decided to start a Yahoo! Group.

Hey, if Robin Artisson can have his own listserv, why can't I?

My loyal, beloved Strifemongers, I give you...

Caer Strife.

Think of it as our personal Fortress of Solitude. Or perhaps an incredibly elitist interpretation of Twitter. Either way, it's a little slice of Internet just for us.

Bring your tales of magico-religious trainwrecks, your run-ins with fundamentalist Christians, your favorite jokes and your unique perspectives on the NeoPagan experience. (Junior and Red Delicious, just bring yourselves. And maybe some brie.) Be irreverent, be silly, promise to make me laugh on a regular basis, and do your best not to shank each other.

Let the Strifemongering begin in full force.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Daydream Believers

The following is a transcript of a phone call from my buddy Georges:

Me - "Hello! How are things?"

Georges - "Things are great! Work's going well, I'm being magically attacked by a coven of teenage Witches, and I'm dating again."

Me - "Wait, what?"

George - "It's nothing serious. We've only gone out a couple of times. But he seems nice."

Me - "Back up a little further."

Georges went on to explain that his twentysomething-year-old ex-boyfriend has fallen in with a group of scrappy young pseudo-Pagans, who spend their free time hanging out at Denny's and casting Dark Spells of Vengeance on those who oppose them. Being fairly well-versed in alternative spiritualities, Georges asked his ex what tradition they practiced, and was told, "Our people come from Massachusetts."

Me - "Are they associated with Laurie Cabot or something?"

Georges - "Um, no. They believe themselves to be the descendants of the first Witch families of Salem."

Me - "Georges... that's the plot of The Covenant."

Georges - "I thought it sounded familiar. Oh, and also, they think they're dragons. Or Cherokee, I forget which. Both, maybe?"

Me - "So basically, they're teenage Cherokee witch-dragons from Salem."

Georges - "That sounds about right."

Me - "My head hurts."

Georges - "I know."

Now, I don't begrudge these kids the right to live in cinema-inspired Fantasyland. I do, however, find it odd how badly they want to impose their fantasies on others--in this case, sending Georges cryptic threats regarding the Evil Magicks they've worked against him. It's not "We put a curse on you" as much as it's "We need you to pretend that we're capable of putting a curse on you, so that we don't have to go back to boring old reality, where we're kind of unpopular."

After we talked, Georges' ex informed him that the coven would be hexing him again, Georges being a happy, healthy guy, and thus an affront to their Twilight-esque sensibilities. I wish them the best of luck, and I hope that one day, they achieve a semblance of maturity and join the rest of us in the Real World (tm). It's not always the nicest or fairest of places, but it does have its perks.

And no relatively few dragons.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Episteria

My mom just announced that Mother's Day is cancelled. She's convinced that if we go out to brunch, an immigrant busboy will cough on her and then she'll immediately die of swine flu.

She will, however, be attending church that morning, where she'll eat bread out of someone else's hand and drink wine out of a communal cup.

I sure hope Jesus hasn't visited Mexico recently.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Flying Pig Flu

Longtime readers will remember that I work in the travel industry. With that in mind, here's an accurate summation of my day (me being the short, put-upon guy with the wand):



Of course, the upside to Swine Flu Mania is that most of our clients have completely forgotten about the pirate attack on a cruise ship that went down this weekend.

Yeah.

I really, really need a vacation.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We may have gone a wee bit overboard

Thanks so much to everyone who cast a vote for my favorite artist in the San Jose Clinic.

But I think we need to maybe back off a little. As it stands, most of the other entries have received 2 to 3 votes, tops, while our dark horse has received 51.

Oh, wait. Now she has 53.

Yeah, we gotta calm down. But the artist in question is thrilled that so many people appreciate her work. And she's resting comfortably in the knowledge that she can't directly be blamed for rigging the ballots.

Friday, April 24, 2009

We interrupt my prolonged reclusiveness for a very important message

An extremely talented Houston-based artist, to whom I may or may not be related, has had her work accepted into a prominent show/silent auction. Her painting has been added to the show's Web site, where viewers are allowed to vote for their favorites.

So here's what I need you guys to do:

Go to www.sanjoseclinic.org. Over on the right side of your screen, you'll see a purple box titled "Art With Heart Tickets." Click on the "Web Gallery" link in that box, and then click on "2009 Professional Art." Scroll down to the page listings, then go to page three.

Once there, scroll down to the bottom, where, in the right corner, you'll notice a watercolor titled "Ethnic Strife." Click on the image, then scroll down one final time to the star ratings.

At this point, you'll want to click on the five stars. And by "You'll want to," I mean "Just fucking do it."

Starving artists everywhere thank you for your willing, earnest support.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Quote o' the Moment - Exactly, and Good Questions

"Growing up, coming out, living in the world, we've all had to deal with the voices of negativity. In learning to speak about who we are, we've always needed to respond to critics before anything else. The voices of homophobia -- both the strident ones in society and the more subtle ones in our own heads -- have largely dictated the course of our discussions. As a result, our definition of self is only beginning to emerge from the shadow of what we're not. 'We are not sick, not evil, not sinful, not perverted, not child molesters, not anti-family, and in terms of basic humanity, not all that much different from anyone else.'

"Saying 'NO!' to homophobia is one of the healthiest steps any one of us can take, yet when our whole self-definition is based on negation, we miss something vital. We know who we're not, but we still don't have answers to the same basic questions, 'Who are we?' 'What does it mean to love as we do?'"

-John R. Stowe

Monday, March 30, 2009

Now with more famous!

I didn't think life could get any better after my gay porn debut, but then Jenny the Bloggess took this kind of horrifying thing I said and named it her official Comment of the Day.

If you don't read The Bloggess, you should, on account of it's the funniest site on the Internet. Jenny's my first-runner-up blog hero (Deborah is my actual blog hero, since she was the first person to link to me, and she sometimes lets me guest blog, which totally makes me feel like a celebrity even when I know I'm really not). But yeah, please do read The Bloggess. You'll like it. I promise.

I'm also pretty sure Jenny will add me to her blogroll now. And if she doesn't, then I assume Loyal Strifemongers will have no choice but to post comments on her blog demanding that she do so.

Or I could simply e-mail her and beg. But I would come across as a lot more important if my Strifemongers just, y'know, took care of it for me.

PS: Jenny is afraid of giant squid, which means I'm no longer alone. If I weren't such a big homo and she wasn't married, we'd almost certainly identify as soulmates.

PPS: Based on the way she describes him, I have a terrible crush on her husband. I'm far more afraid of her reaction to that admission than his.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Poorly Scheduled Witchcraft on Wheels

Good times to dispose of ritual remains at the crossroads:

In the dead of night.
Just before sunrise.
When no one can see you.

Bad times to dispose of ritual remains at the crossroads:

Rush hour.

And no, other drivers, I was not intentionally trying to egg your cars. So enough with the fingers already.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spell It Out

On the very first episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul told the competitors that they would be judged on four qualities: charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. The queens all tittered at that, which led me to assume that a joke of some sort had been made. I didn't get it.

Every week, after announcing the main challenge, RuPaul would list off those four important qualities:

Charisma
Uniqueness
Nerve
Talent

And then the remaining contestants would giggle. Because apparently, being told you need to work on your:

Charisma
Uniqueness
Nerve
Talent

...is amusing. For some obscure reason. That I could not comprehend.

The season finale aired last night (with the fabulous BeBe Zahara Benet taking the crown), so I spent most of my morning pouring over online recaps. One blog in particular kept going on an on about the "C.U.N.T.," and I was like, "Well that's rude. If I were a drag queen, I'd be pretty pissed off if some asshole blogger called me a cunt." And then I thought about it for half an hour, and finally a dim little light bulb appeared and I was all, "Oh. I see." And then I felt like an idiot for missing the glaringly obvious hoo-hoo reference.

But eventually, I decided that if a brilliant, eagle-eyed wordsmith such as myself didn't catch the joke, then the majority of the viewing audience probably didn't, either. Which made me feel better. So later, I was telling one of my employees about the show, and I said, "The contestants are judged on their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent." And she threw her hands in front of her mouth and went, "Oh my God! They said that on television?!"

I fucking quit.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

There's no delicate way to explain how this happened...

... but I've been quoted on a pornographic Web site.

Actually, let me rephrase. It would be more accurate to say I've been quoted on a humorous lifestyle site, akin to those Reader's Digest features where people send in funny anecdotes. Except, y'know, with naked dudes. And their friends. Behaving inappropriately.

Should man-on-man action not offend your sensibilities, click here to witness my literary immortality. Also, please know that Le Cornichon is very, very proud of me right now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pagan Go Bragh

I was wandering the office in a desperate search for fresh coffee when G., one of our salespeople, waved me over to her cubicle.

"Happy Saint Patrick's Day!" she exclaimed, handing me a sheaf of green stickers. "Have a shamrock. Or two. In fact, take as many as you want! I've got tons of them, and... oh." She pointed to my coffee mug. "That's kind of creepy."

"You think?" I asked, inspecting the mug for any subtle ghoulishness I may have missed when purchasing it.

"Yes," G. replied, averting her eyes. "Emphatically creepy."

Alerted by her discomfort, the man in the next cubicle swung around, spotted the mug and flung himself into the conversation.

"Hey, cool!" he said. "It's one of those, whaddayacallem, Wood Men."

"Green Men," I corrected.

"Yeah, that's it, Green Men!" Then, with a slight shift in tone, "They're very witchy."

I about jumped out of my skin, all set to launch into a defensive explanation of alternative, Earth-based spiritualities, when I noticed the smug look on his face and realized he wasn't talking about me. Pagan and Proud, with a Penchant for Shock-Value Theatrics, read the scrolling marquis of his aura.

G.'s, on the other hand, was flickering with selections from the Old Testament. I decided to aim for some ecumenical damage control.

"A lot of Green Men have been found carved into the woodwork of old churches in England," I said.

"Really?" she asked, still on edge but soothed by the word church. "Why?"

"Because European churches were all built on sites of ancient Pagan worship!" her neighbor announced.

He smiled. G. fled back to her desk and started furiously reorganizing her stickers. I glanced around for any stray office supply that could double as an impromptu shank.

Call me old-fashioned, but I firmly believe that religion is a subject Not To Be Discussed at the workplace. A little historical trivia to spice up the day, fine. Just not religion. Now, longtime Strifemongers will understand this makes me something of a hypocrite, since I've outed myself at least once, and the people in my department talk about religion all the time, but we're also a discreet, tight-knit group, and we've known each other for years.

The situation is decidedly hairier over in the larger, less sociable Sales division, where rumors spread like staph infections. Logically, I know our higher-ups would never fire someone because of their spiritual beliefs and practices, but at the same time, I've seen ambitious (read: ruthless) agents throw their co-workers under proverbial buses for less.

Witchcraft doesn't pay for broken windows, guys. Steps on the path towards religious freedom aside, let's please do keep that in mind.

On a more festive note, I just received the following phone call:

[ring ring]

"This is Evn."

[earsplitting blast of Celtic music]

"Um... hello?"

"HELLO! IT'S YOUR DAD. WE'RE AT A PUB."

"I can tell."

"YOUR MOTHER THOUGHT YOU'D LIKE THE MUSIC. LISTEN TO THIS..."

[another violent burst of amplified fiddle]

"ISN'T THAT GREAT?"

"My ears are bleeding."

"GREAT! I GOTTA GO."

[click]

It's a bit disconcerting to get drunk-dialed by your parents in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon. But in the interest of heritage and holiday spirit, I think I'll forgive them.