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Diary #603

What an exhausting week!  After Hereticon ended Thursday morning, I flew to New Orleans to visit some old friends I haven’t seen in a long time, including the cousin who recently got back in touch with me.  And while I had a lovely time, the pace definitely took its toll.  I knew the rapid weather shifts from Seattle to Miami to New Orleans (with a cold front moving in Saturday) and back to Seattle would play hob with my sinuses, and they did; it started as a post-nasal drip which turned into a cough on Friday, then practically as soon as I got back to Seattle turned into heavy congestion.  It didn’t help that I had decided to do the week without cannabis; in retrospect, that was a bad idea because I didn’t sleep nearly as well as usual (even with the help of other drugs), so by Friday I was pretty tired from days of poor sleep.  The flight into New Orleans was on a regional jet, which are far more conducive to giving me vertigo attacks than larger aircraft, and such attacks (while I recover from them more quickly than I used to thanks to my meds) tend to sap my reserves.  By Saturday afternoon I was so debilitated by the one-two punch of lack of sleep and wonky sinuses that I strongly considered asking my cousin if I could stay an extra day, because I was genuinely unsure if it would be safe to drive back into town feeling as I did.  But fortunately, she’s a very early-to-bed-early-to-rise type, so I took a five-hour nap and by 2 AM I felt good enough to get the rental safely back to the airport, board the plane, and promptly fall asleep by lying across three seats.  I don’t actually remember takeoff; the next thing I knew, the pilot was telling the flight attendants to prepare for landing.  The layover in Dallas was mercifully short, and though I didn’t sleep as well on the flight to Seattle it was mostly uneventful.  Once back at my apartment some breakfast and tea allowed me to rally enough for the drive home, and though it was far more tiring than usual, I made it back to Sunset at last.  This was typed about 9 PM Sunday night, so I hope you’ll forgive its brevity; I hear my edibles calling.

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We are done with your silly little games.  –  cop, to man he paralyzed

Sidney Poitier gave a lot of powerful performances in his long career, but this one has always been my personal favorite.  And since it has a song to go with it, here you are.  All the links above the video were provided by Cop Crisis except for the obit itself (from Phoenix Calida) and “billionaires” (from Nun Ya).

From the Archives

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Back in the South

Longtime readers may remember that despite appearances, I’m really quite the homebody.  Given my druthers, I’d rather not go very far from home very often, and when I do travel I’d rather return as quickly as possible.  That preference has only become stronger as I’ve aged (which I suppose isn’t all that unusual), and since I moved to Sunset full-time I’ve become even less inclined to wander than I was in my Oklahoma days, plus Grace’s health problems mean she shouldn’t be alone for long either.  Furthermore, there’s the fact that since hygiene theater Pelion was piled atop security theater Ossa, flying has become even more stressful and odious than it already was, so I now suffer low-level anxiety for weeks before having to travel by air.  Fortunately, I was able to find conveniently-scheduled flights; I left Seattle Sunday night and arrived in Miami Monday morning, then flew to New Orleans yesterday to visit dear friends there for the first time since the summer of ’16.  Sunday morning very early I’ll be flying back to Seattle, which given my legendary hatred of doing anything before noon should give you an idea just how much I want to get home.  Next week I’ll need to be back in Seattle again, but after that I hope to leave Sunset as little as possible for the entire month of February; let’s hope I needn’t travel again before spring, at the earliest.

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Hereticon

I have never enjoyed a conference as much as I have this one.  When I attend conferences, my main goal is to “network” and hobnob as much as possible, which is really a fancy way of saying, “yakety yak as much as possible with as many cool, interesting people as possible, as is my wont anyway but in a place where the density of such people is much higher than it is elsewhere.”  But this conference, by the direct statement of its organizers, is specifically intended to encourage that sort of thing.  Sure, there are talks and presentations, but they don’t occupy every minute of time in multiple rooms at once, with so much going on that there’s absolutely no way for any person to see even half of it even if they wanted to.  The pace is more lesisurely, and the event schedule and spaces are designed around encouraging the guests and presenters (who are often hard to tell apart) to interact with each other.  Some conferences are almost more like seminars, with an emphasis on presenters dispensing ideas and information to a receptive audience; this one is more like a big salon, with an empasis on intelligent, imaginative people talking back and forth.  Part of that is its smaller size and curated guest list, but another part was in the planning; I even had interesting conversations with the Founders Fund staff, who mingled with the attendees.  And the incredible generosity of the organization hosting the conference was delicious icing on a yummy cake.  I’m definitely hopeful of being invited again in the future, and plan to present myself next time…though as I said above, I doubt that will change my experience very much.  And that is a really good thing.

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Diary #602

I’m in Miami Beach right now for Hereticon, a new conference that was originally scheduled for May 2020 in New Orleans until it was torpedoed by the COVID shutdowns.  It was eventually rescheduled for October 2021…then that date, too, was sunk, by Hurricane Ida.  And while I’m glad the conference is finally taking place, I wish they’d been able to keep it in New Orleans.  Miami Beach, as the old song says, ain’t my kinda town, but New Orleans is where I was born, and no matter how far from it I live, there will always be a part of me there.  So I decided to fix what was broken by catastrophes, and when the conference ends on Thursday I’ll be hopping over to the Crescent City (only a two-hour flight from Miami) to visit old friends for a few days.  It meant having to pack for three different temperature ranges while yet keeping it to one suitcase (I don’t like having my luggage out of my control, so one roller bag, a large purse, and whatever I can wear is the limit), but I somehow managed. And I’ll try to get some interesting pictures to share with you.

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I think that certain foods produce better-smelling farts.  –  Stephanie Matto

This week’s video isn’t a new one, but I was recently reminded of ts existence by Lenore Skenazy.  The first and last links above it were provided by David Ley, and the others by Desiree Alliance; Mistress Matisse & Jesse Walker; Emma Evans; and Phoenix Calida, in that order.

From the Archives

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Bathhouse 54

I took this picture on Boxing Day; it was quite a bit deeper by the time it finally stopped on the 30th.  But it may give you some idea why we haven’t done anything on the bathhouse in weeks.  Even when it hasn’t been raining ot snowing, it has been far too cold to weld outdoors (Grace says welding in temperatures below 5 Celsius results in weaker welds).  So it’ll probably be a few weeks before I have anything new to show you, but at least I had proof that my work is plenty strong enough; even with about 5 cm of snow on this section, it didn’t even bend.  And a few hours after the sun finally came out, the southwest leaf shed its entire snow pack in one mighty plop while I was eating breakfast, though the snow on the western leaf (occupying most of this picture) had more staying power due to the house roof arresting the slide.  Once we’re done with the structure, the wood-burning stove will keep the metal roof warm enough to shed any snow more quickly, so I hope we’ve reached that point by next Christmas; the ice on the currently-exposed makes getting to the cottages (or even just going out the back door) far too treacherous.

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Diary #601

With the weather making it impossible to do any work on our bathhouse project, I’m putting more energy into inside projects.  And since I got two new cookbooks for Christmas (and my existing cookbook space is both overfull and not all that great), I decided to build a new shelving unit.  We already had all the wood, so last week Grace helped me design it and I installed the backboards and footing, then made a shelf pattern.  On New Year’s Eve I got Chekhov to cut out the shelves and braces, then on New Year’s Day I put it all together during those periods where things were cooking, so I needed to stay nearby but didn’t actually have to do anything with the food at that time.  Jae is supposed to sand and stain it for me, so perhaps I’ll be able to get it loaded before I leave for my conference on Sunday; it’s more space than I actually need for cookbooks, so I think I’ll use the bottom shelf for potatoes & onions, and maybe some of the higher shelves for other small things that don’t presently have a good home.

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My freezer is full of roadkill.  –  Sarah Day

In honor of the death of one of its stars, here’s one of the more spectacular musical numbers from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  The links above it were provided by Mike Siegel, Dan Savage, Scott Greenfield, a reader who prefers to remain anonymous, Jesse Walker, and Cop Crisis (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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Rooted in the Past

It’s hard to believe it has already been a year since I semi-retired, which means it’s been 22 years since I started escorting full time, 27 years since my first husband left me, and just a few days shy of 37 years since the first time I accepted money for sex.  But despite my life being different in a number of ways from what it looked like in 2015, and quite different from what it looked like in 2005, and extremely different from what it looked like in 1995 and 1985, I’m still the same person in many ways.  Obviously I’m much older and much wiser and far more satisfied with my life, even if it doesn’t look anything like 1985 Maggie would have imagined it would look.  And yet, there’s a clear line of continuity across all those decades, and even the changes which might seem major to outsiders (such as moving from librarian to whore, from Louisiana to Washington, and from nigh-total abstinence to daily drug use) are in reality rooted in what went before, in the same way plot developments late in a novel might be foreshadowed in the early chapters.  This was driven home for me just two weeks ago, when one of my cousins suddenly decided to re-establish communication after almost 30 years of none.  We were very close friends for several years in our mid-teens, but when I went to UNO and she went to LSU we lost touch as so often happens, and though we would chat amiably every time she came into the library, we both had poorly-chosen husbands to deal with and she lived on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain.  Apparently, her mother brought me up in conversation at Thanksgiving and it made her realize how much she missed me, so she contacted my sister on Facebook and we were soon playing catch-up.  Once I told her about my activism, she decided to watch the many videos available on YouTube and was struck by how little my vocal inflections, mannerisms, and the like had changed since those long-ago and far-off days when I’d ride my bicycle over to her house and we’d hang out all afternoon doing the sorts of things that seem very important when you’re 15.  Her timing was very good, because next week I’m headed to Miami for a conference, and after that I plan to stop by the New Orleans area for a visit; it’ll be good to see her again after so long, and I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the first of a series of such returns, unexpected and yet foreshadowed, old loose threads being gathered together to serve a new function in the story of my life.

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