Nov 242014

I was in a New York skyscraper with Bono, Larry Mullen Jr., and our friend Mike R. We went to the top of it and discovered an enormous junkyard. The skyscraper turned into a mile-high mountain in the shape of a building, but the top was rounded and uncarved, and the junkyard covered most of it.

I found a very fancy weight scale, in white enamel with shiny, tufted red leather padding, but there were sticky notes attached to it stating that it wasn’t for sale. Unseen employees started removing the padded sections, because somehow this would allow them to sell it to me.

I turned to see the guys disappear through an empty door frame near the edge of the mountain and followed. On the other side was a six- or nine-foot drop onto a wide metal catwalk that circled the whole thing. I wondered how they’d gotten down there so quickly and easily, since there was no ladder or stairs. I was annoyed that they’d ditched me, and wanted to follow them, but when I looked through the catwalk grating at the ground a mile below, I got dizzy.

As a joke, I almost yelled after them, “Hello! Hello! I’ve got this thing called vertigo!”

Jun 042014

Ok, this started out as just an intro to a Facebook post about a really interesting article on PsychologyToday, and somehow turned into an opinion piece. Feel free to ignore my blather, but the article itself is definitely worth a read.

There is an aspect to the discussion of safe sex, HIV prevention, and, now, PreP that never seems to be addressed, but is a huge factor in all of it: desire and pleasure.

We are, generally speaking, still a very uptight society. We’re obsessed with sex, but uncomfortable admitting it, or discussing the dirty details, especially regarding gay sex.

For example, I hate condoms. Condoms suck. They can kill the mood and they’re inconvenient. They reduce sensation for the top, and can be painful for the bottom because lube never sticks to them very well. Other than disease prevention, about all you can say for them is that they can keep your dick clean if the bottom isn’t. Also, for myself and many people I know, cumming into a guy, or vice versa, forms an intimacy and a connection in that moment that’s hard to describe if you haven’t experienced it. Condoms can kill that, too.

If reading that made you squirm a little, writing it made me squirm a little, yet all of it is true.

See? Uptight.

We’re also uncomfortable around those who aren’t uncomfortable with it, and the words “slut” and “whore” get thrown around a lot.

I’ve stayed strictly out of the PreP conversations because I haven’t formed an opinion on it, informed or otherwise, but I have made an observation: women have been and, in some cases still are, labelled as “sluts” or “whores” for openly stating a desire for birth control. For stating, even indirectly, that they have and want sex, possibly without a condom, possibly outside of a monogamous relationship (the horror!), because condoms suck. The fallout from Sandra Fluke’s testimony is a prime and recent example of this.

Now we have Truvada. I’ve heard and read conflicting information and opinions about its effectiveness, but basically there is now for men an analog to the birth control pill for women: a daily medication to help prevent one of the risks of unprotected sex.

As expected, there are a lot of men who want this, who are stating openly that they have and want sex, possibly without a condom, possibly outside of a monogamous relationship (the horror!), because condoms suck.

And what are many people calling them? “Truvada whores”.

The parallels are pretty clear.

Obviously there’s a difference between HIV and an unwanted pregnancy: one is still a potential death sentence, the other just feels like one.

The point, however, is the Puritanical attitude, squeamishness, and probably jealousy, that leads to the labeling of those who are unafraid to admit they want sex and want it a lot.

As another example, there is a person I know who bluntly and proudly posts about his sexual exploits on social media, and there are a lot of them. To be honest, I initially held him in some contempt for it. I considered him a slut. I considered him a health risk to himself and others, even though he said he refused to bareback. But when I started to analyze that, I realized the problem was me. I was uptight, I was a little squeamish, mostly I was envious, and I was projecting that on him. Fortunately, I also kept my mouth shut about it, because it wasn’t my place to judge.

So, whatever your opinion on Truvada and those who choose to use it, stop with the name calling. Stop trying to shame others for being sexual. We’re all sexual. It’s in our very nature, though some try to deny it. Nothing is preventing you from continuing to use condoms, so stop throwing stones.

Sep 272013

It was my turn to give a “walk in my shoes” talk for about 5-10 minutes at our monthly staff meeting. I don’t know why I was so nervous about it. I’ve worked with these people for almost 3 years, and if we had all been in a bar for this I’d have had no problem. I guess because it was more official and formal. Still, it’s one less stressor out of the way.

 Posted by at 12:01 pm
Sep 012013

Several thousand years BCE: I was in the past trying to preserve statues and artwork for the future by collecting them and putting them in the care of an older man who was very close to immortal.

At one point I had rounded up a group of pristine human statues from a civilization that had left very few remnants of itself, and left them with him. I’m not sure if the statues were supposed to be of gods or people, but they were of various colors, mostly shades of white and off-white, but one was solid black.

I returned some time later to find that the heads of all the statues had been sliced off. Angrily questioning the man, I discovered that he had been swayed by some religious group and convinced that false idols must be destroyed. I eventually convinced him of the importance of what we were doing, and he swore to never deface or destroy anything in the collection again.

Flash forward to the present day: There was a media circus around the compound on the shore of the Mediterranean (Greece? Turkey?) where he had lived and housed the collection, because he had finally died, and the collection was going to be revealed to the public.

My viewpoint switched, and I was above the water, going around a monument as if filming it for a documentary. It was circular, and gave the impression of being composed of rings of low marble walls, barely above sea level. They surrounded a flattened, slightly twisted wedge made of gold, rising about 20-30 feet above the surface. Someone said it was actually on Venus, but I dismissed the idea because the conditions on Venus made that impossible.

Aug 142013

My Great Blackout of 2003 story: I had just gotten a haircut and left the shop. In the instant I crossed the threshold, the power went out, and I saw the nearby stoplight was dark. I turned around and saw the shop’s power had gone too.

Aaron called to tell me power had gone out pretty much everywhere, and I made my way back home to Royal Oak. Luckily, traffic wasn’t too bad yet.

Once the cell towers and municipal water pumps shut down (in sweltering heat, of course), Aaron collected me the next morning, and we spent the weekend at his parents’ beach house near Port Huron, which was just outside the affected area.

The night before we left, I remember standing outside looking at the sky. With no light pollution, a huge number of stars were visible. Except for occasional passing cars, it was almost completely dark and silent. It was actually a really cool experience, for a brief period of time.

Mar 202013

I was playing some version of Mechwarrior with virtual reality, because it was as if I was inside the mech. I was playing against some friends, but complaining to Aaron that the customization options were crap.

I was trying to add PPCs to my Warhammer’s arms, and the game wouldn’t let me. To demonstrate, I waved my virtual arms at Aaron, which ended in bare struts instead of particle cannons. Instead, the cannons were stacked on top of my shoulder-mounted missile racks.

I want my money back. 😛

Mar 192013

I had a large number of live white mice to use for some construction purpose: digging or chewing away something. There were also rats mixed in with the mice, and the rats were useless and destructive and I had to take them out and do something with them, but I didn’t want to kill them.

Mar 182013

I was in some kind of police department, fighting a well-organized gang. Two officers had been captured during a pitched gunfight, and I had infiltrated the gang in order to find them.

The complex they had taken over seemed to get larger the more I explored it, and I couldn’t quite retrace my steps back to the scene of the gunfight.
I turned a corner and almost ran smack into a guy in sophisticated combat armor. I ducked back and watched as he tested the high-speed dart launchers built into the forearms.

Moving on as quietly as I could, I found I had to walk through a large room of gang members settling in and milling around. Many were shirtless, and they all had tattoos and some kind of southern accent. I pulled my shirt off before walking in and strolled through as non-chalantly as I could, making my own tats visible.

I must have blended in sufficiently, because no one spared me a second glance. Feeling more confident, I passed a gang lieutenant and gave him a low, “What’s up?”, at which he nodded, then suddenly turned back to me.

“Hey, come with me, there’s someone I want you to meet.”

Having no choice, I followed, and he led me to a stocky, sandy-haired guy; late twenties, short beard, and surprisingly friendly-looking. I knew this was one of the gang leaders.

My escort looked at me and said, “Say something.”

In a neutral tone, I replied, “Something.”

The guys chuckled. Feigning bewilderment and trying to match his accent, I asked, “What’s going on, man?”

Still smiling, the leader said, “You should try sticking to one.”

Shit. It finally hit me why security wasn’t tighter: the accent. Everyone who had been brought in as reinforcements had the same, specific accent, which I had just failed to imitate. Game over, man. Game over.

“So who are you with?”

Since I was blown, there was no point in lying.

“Orion branch.”

“And what are you doing here?”

“You captured two of our officers. I’m here to find them and get them out.”

I paused. “By the way, I have to say it: that combat armor is amazing.”

He broke into a broad grin. “Isn’t it awesome? I love it!”

I laughed. “I had a nerdgasm when I saw that thing! Sorry, I digress. What’s going to happen now?”

“We’re going to have to put you somewhere quiet and out of the way for awhile, and since we can’t have you fighting us about it…” He pulled a canister off his belt and sprayed a yellowish gas in my face.

Everything went dark.

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