October 02nd, 2015

My Modern Adventure in (Gay) Online Dating 



“A girl phoned me and said, ‘Come on over. There’s nobody home.’ I went over. Nobody was home!” — Rodney Dangerfield

Three days ago I decided to explore online options for meeting guys. It’s been a couple of years since my last love partner moved away to live in the actual world of World of Warcraft. (The fallout from dating a guy still in his 20s who was a pro-gamer — recruited by Blizzard Entertainment.).

Here’s what I discovered (and experienced) on the sites I invested time in, all of which, since my last foray years ago, have become extremely aggressive and devious.

Mind you these are considered ‘dating’ sites, not ‘hookup’ sites. I’m not adverse to those but since the bedbug craze I no longer hookup. I know! A tragic loss to the horny men of Washington.

OK Cupid: Lots of men with dogs. In fact, there are lots of dogs and guys seemingly wed to their dogs. It got to the point where I amended my profile with: 

“If you are so cathected to your dog that sleeping away from the creature for an evening might trigger an anxiety attack, we won’t be a good match.”

The one interesting guy that contacted me on OK Cupid was comely and in his late 40s. So that was encouraging. Tho he began his text message to me with the question: “Are you a bottom?”

This is not a good first question (unless you’re on Scruff or Grindr or hanging out at The Cuff). I suggested we explore other topics first, before anal positions, but then never heard back from him.

I’ve yet to delete my profile there. Maybe later today.

Mesh: This is a hot hot hot new site that has been getting lots of write-ups and press (and bullshit) in the media. It’s supposed to be so super modern that it sifts the losers from the winners, the scammers from the prizes. And it was big waste of time. 

After a couple of days I got one email from a guy that was 24 and said he was looking for ‘the tranny experience of his life’ — so obviously Mesh’s filtering mechanism was broken on that day. I deleted the account after two days. 

Plenty of Fish: And lots of trolls. (I’m sorry, but Venus is elevated in my horoscope and some degree of comeliness is critical).

I would get emails from the admins saying: “Wow, you are getting so much attention. Here are the guys who want to meet you!” But then once I opened and read the email it was simply a con from POF for me to pay money to see who had ‘liked me.’ Tacky.

Attempting to delete your account on POF is akin to getting the nuclear codes from Obama. Too, once you find the page that allows cancelation you are shamed on each screen on your way out: 

“Are you sure you want to be alone for the rest of your life?” 

“Think of how loneliness will harm your health?” 

“You will die if you don’t date?” 

I’m misquoting but it’s almost that bad. Hideous. 

Match.com: The grandmother of dating sites (with thousands of complaints to prove it). In the old days this is where all the snobby gays gathered and it’s what caused OK Cupid to happen — as a counterpoint; which in the old days was sorta quirky and techy but now Match.com owns OK Cupid which explains why it’s become kind of boring and more mercenary. 

The entire Match experience is a series of humiliations (for feeling tricked and fucked with). After brain-sucking you for 15-minutes to create your profile so you can actually see who is on the site, you’re instantly jammed into a tunnel of screens for various (outrageous) payment options (wow, quelling loneliness is really expensive nowadays — my advice? Just pop a Vicodin and watch something on Netflix).

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September 27th, 2015

Tonight’s Eclipse: Independence vs Nostalgia


Eclipses have a bad reputation. This relates to the days when only kings and queens had their horoscopes prepared — and what might befall a ruler meant the entire village was going to suffer or succeed as well.

The fact that an eclipse involves an astronomical exactitude can, for individuals, translate into a sense of pressure that triggers increased or diminished awareness. In other words, a lunar eclipse like tonight’s illuminates what is sending you to sleep— distancing you from the awakened state.

Eclipses are anachronistic. Dimmed lunar light tweaks cellular memory — that reptilian/mammalian part of the brain which winds through our DNA like a tendril. Dreams unhinge, longings feel jammed-to-bursting. Again, it’s about the amplification of awareness — how it ascends or descends — and what that sets off in our habitual nature.

The early-century occultist Rudolph Steiner had a wild theory about eclipses and I’ll share it here because it’s so fascinating. This is from Dennis Elwell‘s stellar book Cosmic Loom:

He said they serve as safety valves, a solar eclipse carrying out into space the evil that spreads over the earth, so that it might work its havoc in a less concentrated sphere. A lunar eclipse, on the other hand, allows evil thoughts present in the cosmos to approach those humans who are willing to be possessed by them.

Kind of creepy. But the point here, if we move away from the goofy moralistic tone, is that eclipses shift or tilt the balance between solar and lunar properties, and how we as humans align with those impressions via intention or choice or accident.

Eclipses are easier to comprehend, in a practical way, if viewed through the lens of Gurdjieff‘s cosmology. Where the Moon is associated with emotional habits that support sleep-walking, a kind of devolution. And the Sun is linked to awareness, concentrated presence, a quality of one-pointedness that is very ‘now’-oriented; not retro-pulled towards old memories or conventional ways of being.

If momentum in one’s life is towards the Moon — a calcification of the psyche — a lunar eclipse heightens this dilemma. A solar eclipse does the opposite — assists the ascending solar arc towards the awakened state.

So, what of Libra, the sign in which the Sun is situated during tonight’s eclipse? Read more

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September 26th, 2015

Richter’s Sleep Translates Moonlight into Music


Weekend Music Discovery. Grade: A-

The eclectic electronic composer Max Richter‘s new 8-hour digital omnibus: Sleep.

Each lengthy transition is a mesmerizing transmission crafted to deliver you, layer by layer to the core of wherever you go when you fall asleep at night.

In spots some of the tracks sounds like angelic beings are beckoning, in others you’re wandering naked in fields of clover and the temperature is perfect.

And no, god forbid, these aren’t New Age lullabies. Some of the sustained tones do to your ears what moonlight does to your eyes, the equivalent of liquid silver sonics.

You can order what is essentially a sampler of the project from Amazon here. Or the full 8-hours from Deutsche Grammophon here.


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September 22nd, 2015

How to Stop Self-Helping Yourself Into Oblivion


Yesterday public television in Seattle celebrated their decade-long relationship with the just-deceased self-help writer Wayne Dyer, and to honor the author the station was replaying one of his final talks.

The theme of his presentation alludes me; it was something about Five Steps to Something or Other, the secrets of which were contained in his new book, which was touted tastefully throughout his talk.

I decided to give the show a try, despite the fact that I’ve a strong aversion to listening to other people talk or write about ‘how’ life should be lived or experienced.

Prior to the advent of the Internet, this phenomenon of people giving advice about living was always buzzing in the background of life, but not in the omnipresent way it does now.

The Net has mutated what used to be a semi-contained industry (the self-help, how-to world) into a bacchanalia of yapping gurus and guides — billions of bromides pinging back and forth across blogs, YouTube and social media every hour.

The world, as the Net depicts it, is divided into distinct camps: Those with electronic devices doing nothing. And those doing nothing but writing or talking about doing stuff and then selling that information on an electronic device to people that aren’t doing anything.

While watching the PBS tribute to Wayne Dyer talking about Wayne Dyer and Wayne Dyer’s new book about doing stuff to be a better person like Wayne Dyer, my fascination and agitation landed not on Dyer, but on the audience.

Their eagerness and willingness to be told how they could improve their lives felt heartbreaking. Because the camera would periodically cutaway to random scans of the crowd, I was privy to dozens of eyeholes dilated in moist receptivity as Dyer spoonfed them a list of dos and don’ts for a ‘better life.’

Dyer had conveniently crafted these pointers into a list that was transformed into an illustration of a ladder with five distinct steps. And because our culture is obsessed to the point of mania with lists, the childlike image of the ladder remained projected behind Dyer as his proverbs tumbled forth.

I squirmed. Each ‘pointer’ or step on the ladder was related to Dyer’s personal existence — as if I were interested. (I write this flatly, not from a place of mean-spiritedness but fact, I wasn’t intrigued, though I’m sure many in the audience were.)

Dyer’s peculiar mix of humility and hubris was incredibly distracting. I kept thinking, “God, this is so brilliant. You missed your calling (and million$) by not starting a church or movement.” And yet my eyeholes were bone-dry.

Too, this interweaving of the promise of a secret to be revealed (to better oneself or reach a financial goal), with Dyer’s insistent desire to give it to me was just weird.

I’ve long suggested that no one follows the how-tos of self-help books. Books of this ilk are akin to talismans that people keep on their nightstand to remind them of something or other that is supposed to make their life better while they continue to do what they’ve always done because in the end the only person anyone is interested in hearing from is oneself.

Self-help books allow for a kind of deluded procrastination until you finally get your shit together and then act from your own gumption. Often this comes via desperation or eleventh-hour providence. But whatever: “Yay, you’re off of your ass!”

Moving in life, doing things, takes courage and I’m fascinated by how and why humans have lost so much courage, the scale of which you can track by watching the bestseller status of various self-help and how-to books.

Or just listen to the predominate message within politics, which goes something like: “Vote for ___ and she’ll guarantee that you and your family will survive this weird post-industrial society you’re struggling to survive in.” But why must I wait for Bernie Sanders to make my life better? (I think Bernie’s great by the way — but why displace my courage and faith unto him?)

So, the point of this post isn’t to make fun of self-help books but to act as a reminder or a spirited nudge. A reminder to pay attention to the impulse to buy books (or listen incessantly to TED talks about things you should be doing yourself) that are stand-ins for your goals and the kind of focus and exertion of will required to fulfill your purpose.

What is the solution to escaping the tyranny of the how-to-self-help-yourself stuff?

Well, if I told you that you’d be in the same cycle I’ve outlined above.  Instead, I’ll offer some insights and observations that seem closer to (and are germane with) the universal. These are suggestions for you to poke at and entertain in passing. Lightly. Read more

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September 20th, 2015

The Resilient Power of Bliss


You won’t find a more uplifting description of Saturn’s placement in Sagittarius (where the planet will transit until December of 2017) than astrologer Marcia Moore‘s:

This position of Saturn “gives the capacity to concretize ideas and to bring abstract concepts down to earth. In this respect, Saturn is like a crystal which concentrates the light of the Sagittarian mind into a flame that can start a fire. Sagittarius, in turn, warms the austere formality of Saturn with the genial glow.”

Rational optimism like this is a welcome shift after Saturn’s final pass through Scorpio which often felt like a cathartic slog: A Roto-Rooter attached directly to the collective’s unconscious.

Astrologer Michael Lutin aptly associated Saturn’s transit through the last degrees of Scorpio with “death anxiety.” He listed several markers that were particularly difficult to resolve during the last couple of months. I’d imagine that you can relate to:

“The feeling of helplessness while awaiting a decision, diagnosis, judgment, revelation, miracle, change, or new direction.”

He also mentioned: “The anger brought by having to accept enforced change.”

And probably most painful and confusing, a kind of sadomasochistic “…holding on to improper attachments.”

I think we’re all welcoming the new Saturn through Sagittarius transit. So let’s talk about it.

Saturn’s New Abode

But first:

Imagine listening to only the trombone section playing a Haydn concerto. How weird. Something similar happens when astrologers attempt to define lone planetary transits, detached from the whole. Like I’m doing here, with Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius.

You can’t really pull out a single planet from the pantheon and then describe the possibilities inherent the transit. All of the planets participate in the solar system’s symphony simultaneously. So, keep this in mind whenever you read about significant planetary shifts in astrology. Only a facet is examined, a facet that is removed from the totality of the cosmic field. It is incomplete.

That said, of all the planets Saturn is the easiest to form a distinct impression of when you consider the planet’s placement in any of the twelve signs.

Meaning, wherever Saturn moves in the Zodiac, the reality principle under which we all abide, shifts. So you sense it palpably. It’s like changing the lenses in your glasses. The effect is immediate. Various qualities of the sign Saturn transits are made distinct and specific, and, Saturn being Saturn, we’re pulled in — like Brer Rabbit with the Tar-Baby — until we decipher the code.

So, if Saturn in Scorpio is tied to “death anxiety,” will Saturn in Sagittarius involve life anxiety?

Not exactly. But kind of.

Sagittarius, of all the signs, is related to the flame of optimism, a faith in the ultimate good that resides within or beneath every experience in life. It sounds corny, but think of where you’d be in life if you didn’t have faith? (Not belief, mind you — but faith. Think about the two words and faith’s meaning will become emphatic; Saturnine).

So this is the promise of Saturn in Sagittarius: The realistic benefits of exercising faith. This might show up in your life (at least initially, on the heels of the Scorpio transit) as a super-effort to remember why life is worth living. Read more

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