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You are currently viewing archive for May 2009
Posted By Bakari

I am so sick of dating.

I can't say it hasn't been fun.
Its been really fun. Many first experiences.

I have been asked out. I have gathered the courage to ask out.
Some time later I replaced courage with confidence.

I have learned an awful lot of things (and confirmed a few I suspected all along).
I learned just how different I am compared to so many of my peers in this area.
I learned finding what I am looking for is really hard.
I learned all the common stereotypes about gender and dating are totally false.
I learned people really do have sex on first dates (and not just desperate people, drunks, or players, but ordinary healthy well-adjusted people)
I learned women are just as superficial as men (just with height instead of weight)
I learned (at least for those whose standards start at 5'6" or less) I am much more attractive than I had thought I was.
I learned there is very little correlation between stated views on sex and actual comfort and enthusiasm in practice; and little correlation between visual sexiness and actual quality of performance.
I learned the single most important variable is that she is truly comfortable with her own sexuality.
I was shocked to learn how many people think that the actions of the female partner have little bearing on the overall quality of sex, or that being "good" can consist solely of how much she is willing to have done to her. I learned not everyone can match my stamina.
I learned people are much more forgiving of me for my infidelity than I am of myself (I decided against ever making that story a blog, but I have nothing to hide, so if you ask me I'll tell you about it)
I learned I can easily fall in love with someone I am totally incompatible with - in fact, I'm suspect that I have a tendency to do just that.
I have learned a lot about emotional responses and how rare it is to just be told, directly, when something I do is upsetting or annoying or offensive.
I learned just how guarded and polite people are, and how it breeds a sort of inadvertent falseness which I honestly never noticed before.

I have had sex with a number of beautiful intelligent compassionate women of various shapes and sizes and colors. People involved in social justice and environmental protection and education, younger than me, older, people who want to get married someday and others who think monogamy is an artificial social construct. More women in just this past year than I expected to be with in my entire life.
I've shared both physical and emotional intimacy with women who I could have conversations with and find myself questioning beliefs I've refined over a lifetime of thought and debate and felt totally confident about.
I've even fallen in love. It may have been with someone totally incompatible with me, but it was still nice to know for sure I still can.

It turns out that sex with someone who isn't my best-friend-and-long-term-partner is just as unfulfilling as I always assumed it would be. They were everyone of them someone I could consider a friend, a whole world of difference from one-night-stand or purely-physical affairs (the thought of which makes me feel a little sick inside). That just isn't enough.

I have not had a history of following through on this sort of thing in the past; perhaps a public pronouncement will aid my meager willpower - or at least discourage the women in my life from taking advantage of it:
No more sex on first dates, no matter how good that date is. Or second. Or third. No sex unless...


(due to character limit, please click here to continue)

Posted By Bakari

A friend of mine insists that I seem really gay (despite this friend being female, and us sleeping together).
As evidence she questioned someone I had just met, who agreed that whatever I was, she doubted it was straight.
As I found this more than a little strange, I proceeded to ask other people if they thought that when they first met me.
Responses mixed, but I was surprised to find some people agreed with their assessment.

The reasons I got included: that I seem comfortable with myself and others, in my own skin (mind you, I was in my own home at the time), and that I am not a sleazy slimeball.

I definitely consider those both to be very positive (and, I like to imagine, accurate) things to say about me, but it leaves an absolutely terrible implication for like, all straight men everywhere. 
Like, (aside from gay guys and me), they are all fake, all of the time (or at least around women), always trying to show off or prove something, I suppose, or one way or another acting (presumably for the chance to have sex with everyone they meet).
I have a lot of trouble believing that.

Having an inside pass, I do know that this is terribly common.  Disturbingly common.
But if it is perceived to be universal...
Perhaps this is why nice guys finish last.  Women perceive guys who are just regular, decent human beings as all being gay.

When I was younger I used to believe that everyone is naturally bi, and it is only social conditioning that makes us suppress it.  I was raised in an extremely liberal household by an openly bi former hippy who was totally honest and through in education on all topics. 
(A note for the anti-sex-ed folk: nothing can make sex less appealing to a young person than hearing about it in detail from one's mother.  Statistics show that repressive communities have a far higher teen birth rate.  I on the other hand waited until 21, and then only because the other person insisted).
I grew up not just watching but participating in the gay parade.  It was a while before I understood that a certain anonymous alcohol recovery support group was not in fact specifically for the LGBT community.  Many of my best childhood memories was of Camp Lavender Hill, where every kid was from a LGBT family.  So I was open-minded.
Then I got the opportunity to test the theory.
Turns out I was wrong.
It just doesn't do it for me.
Not at all.
Even years later, I tell myself I "should" be more open-minded.  Nothing can make me lose interest in sex faster than watching gay porn.

I am neutral on the gender tests I have taken, and I'm proud of that.  I may act effeminate by this society's standards - mainly because I am totally oblivious to the standards.  I probably wouldn't act the way I am "supposed to" even if I knew, but the truth is I don't.  When I think about it, I don't see what I could do that wouldn't be a blatant caricature of what it means to be Manly.  I think of flannel, a big belt buckle, beer, and slapping women I barely know on the ass.  I think of constantly challenging other guys to frivolous competitions and asking total strangers for her number on the sole basis of her being "hot".  Who does these things?  How can anyone take them seriously? 

(due to character limit, the conclusion can be found HERE)

Posted By Bakari

On race day I could understand people who didn't know me assuming I was gay, given the circumstances.

The Bay to Breakers, you probably know, is an annual running race is San Francisco which is unique in that it is simultaneously a legitimate competitive race in which people fly in from all over the world to compete for $74,000 in prize money, and a moving festival/party with giant floats, free alcohol, public nudity, and all manner of silly costumes.

This was my 3rd year competing, and as always I combine the two elements by actually running the course, but not wearing traditional running attire.  Its the one time a year I don my stripper outfit - silver swimsuit and a bowtie.
I hoped to beat last years time by 11 minutes.  To improve on last years haphazard practicing I started training earlier, made a schedule, kept a log, and made sure to begin my recovery earlier (I started last years race sore).  I trained smarter - but not harder.  I skipped on rainy days and never made up for them.  I did do one long run (11miles), but I never matched last year's 4 repeats on the 300ft-in-one-block hill near my house.
In the end I beat my old time but only by 30 seconds.
On the plus side I ended the race with very little soreness or pain, and for the first time had the strength and energy to walk around, see costumes and meet up with friends instead of just lying in the grass for an hour and then going home like last year.

As I began walking back the way I had come I noticed some of those "God Hates Sinners" people with their giant signs and bull horns who come out to every public party type event in San Fransisco.

And I got a spontaneous idea for a simple counter-protest.
No words.  No sign. 
I, dressed like a male stripper, still listening to my MP3 player music, stood near them, and began to dance. 

Fun.  Life.  Free. Joy.  Dance.  No one gets hurt.  How can anyone say dancing and enjoying a beautiful day like this is something God hates?  God invented all this. 
I just happen to not being wearing a lot of clothes.  Hell, humans invented clothes.  God puts us here naked.  I'm not even gay.  I'm not Catholic either.  (Catholic is in the largest font on the list of things God hates).  I think my implication was understood because all the people passing by began to cheer and wave and take pictures - which must have confused my Christian friends, as I had come from behind and they had no way to know I was there.
Eventually they turned around, and said something I couldn't hear over my headphones, and tried to move away from me a little.  Then I went on to put on another show near a different set of the same group a little up the road.  I was told by a couple people that I was their hero. 
I was just happy to make people's experience of passing by the hate filled religious fanatics a more positive and entertaining one.
I'm thinking, maybe a worthwhile annual tradition...

Posted By Bakari

Several people have said to me recently that they follow, or would follow, my writing here occasionally, but...
I write too often, or
They want to learn about me present before me past, or
They only sometimes have time, or
They don't remember to check, or...

There is a simple solution to all these and more.
I don't really add posts very often.
When there are many within, say, one month, they all tend to be very short (like recently).

But when they build up, of course eventually it gets to be a lot to read.

But there is this great free service, called blog alert.

I made it really easy: just put your email address in the little box in the top left corner of this page.

They will not ever spam you.  I swear.  I know, because I use the service myself for all of the other blogs I follow (you can set it up for any site with an RSS feed).
I will have no idea that you signed up, and no idea if you cancel later.
They will send a single notification per day, only on days where there is new content (I make it a rule to never post more than once a day anyway).
You can cancel anytime, using the link in each notification email.

Posted By Bakari

Long long ago my first full-time job was as a bike messenger.
Occassionally, when things were kind of slow, I would sing to my co-workers over the 2-way radio system.
I would sing Bobby Joe Ebola songs.
One of the couriers, 1 5 Slug, he asked me who wrote those crazy songs, and I let him borrow Bobby Joe's first album.
Fast forward almost an entire decade.
I have moved out of mom's house, had about 30 jobs, traveled the country, gotten married, gotten divorced, started my own business.
Someone writes from Craigslist about a couch I am selling from a hauling run.
When I get there to drop it off, it's 1 5 Slug.
His roommate is Corbet, (former) lead singer of Bobby Joe.
For some reason 1 5 Slug does not find any of this to be the slightest bit noteworthy.{%27rt%27:%27/Media/MySpaceMessage/768dc0e1-4505-41d0-900c-a298713802cf%27}&g=1

Bobby Joe

Saturday, June 20, 2009
09:00 PM to 02:00 AM

The Uptown Nightclub
1928 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA, 94612

Only the greatest band ever to grace the SPAM label.
The greatest band which also doubled as an Amtgard admin.
The headliner of nearly every GeekFest.
My own old band's - Pork and the Spork - most important supporter.
The only acoustic guitar band that could play the Gilman and not get beer bottles chucked at their heads.
Of all the offensive humor bands there are in the world, none can touch the MacNuggits.
They have been broken up for many, many, many years.
And yet here they are, playing a show as if nothing happened.
Right here in Oakland.

If you do not attend this show, bad things may happen.

Posted By Bakari

I'll say one thing for Jr.

His press correspondents dinner was much much funnier than Obama's was.  He gets points for that.  I guess there was just so much more to make fun of about him, and he knew it, which, granted, is a very bad quality for the most powerful person on the planet to have.

But still.

I miss the days of making fun of the president.  It was enjoyable.  And it gave a good place for everyone to direct their anger.  Now who are we gonna be angry at?  We're going to have to go back to road rage, and as a bicyclist, motorcyclist, and hypermiler, that's extra bad news for me.  I realize now, too late, that I should have voted for McCain.  In the interest of amusement.  Sure, there is a slight chance we get universal health care within the next decade, but under Jr. we didn't need health care. 

Because laughter is the best medicine.

(starts 2 minutes in)



Posted By Bakari

My garden has finally been started.
It has been a long time now since I first decided to, but at least I didn't wait until mid-summer when it would be too late to plant.

I built the planter entirely out of scrap wood I had saved from past hauling jobs.

The half barrel in the pictures is also from a hauling job, but is not in use yet.

I lined the bottom with carpet (from a dump run)

to protect the plastic which goes above it (the plastic left over from a furniture move done in the rain).  Then an old blanket on top, both to protect the plastic and to aid in water wicking.

I placed some pieces of broken concrete (which used to be a fountain base) as supports for the porous sheet of wood which elevates the soil above the water reservoir, so that while the water below is accessible (via soil wicking) it does not saturate the soil or plants.

The mesh keeps the soil from getting into the reservoir.

The plastic trim lining the top of the planter is hauling leftover too.
I found slightly used (one season) potting soil on Craigslist in Oakland for free. Potting soil wicks water better, and so is recommended in self-watering systems. In theory the system uses less water, requires less maintenance and regulation, and produces healthier plants.
Being my first attempt ever to grow food, I consider this season practice, and I will be very happy if I end up eating anything at all from my little home-made box of dirt.

The first thing I planted was a potato. It was originally meant for eating, but it went bad, so I threw it in the compost. Later I noticed stems pushing their way around the plastic cover, and lo and behold the "bad" potato was sprouting. So maybe now I will get a good potato out of it.
My neighbor who gardens had told me even before I built the planter that she had a tomato plant for me. She also gave me a tomato stake; which, incidentally, I had given her about a year ago, having gotten it in a dump run and having no use for it at the time. Apparently she took a couple more than she really needed back then and had been storing the extra all this time.
She also shared some lettuce seeds and a bean plant. I got some free basil seeds in exchange for signing up for some email list at the farmers market last week.  My friend said she may give me a plant too.

So far I have spent almost no money on my new garden at all...


(just a bit more, and the finished pictures, on my MySpace blog, click here)

Posted By Bakari

I would much appreciate it if you voted for my instructable.

I don't so much want the prize, but I would love the exposure.

Unfortunately you have to sign up, but fortunately it's free, and doesn't take very long.

Thanks in advance.

Posted By Bakari

I know I have said this before, but in light of the presidents move to end offshore tax havens and companies outsourcing jobs for cheaper labor,
(and more than a few people claiming there is no difference between democrats and republicans), I feel it bears repeating.

The US economy has been growing over the past decade.
Median income has not.
In fact, adjusted for inflation, the real income of the middle class has actually fallen slightly.

The reason for this disparity is that virtually 100% of the economic gain has gone to the upper class - largely people who don't need to do any real work because they own the means of production, real estate, or stock, which means they actually contribute nothing to society.
The net worth of America’s wealthiest 1 percent now exceeds the net worth of the entire bottom 90 percent.

When someone says that raising taxes hurts "the economy", well yes, it may reduce the total GDP.  But it is only taking money away from people who have too much already, who don't need it, and frankly, don't deserve it. When taxes are raised on big business they ARE NOT forced to lay off workers.  They could just as easily reduce CEO pay, reduce dividends, or slow the companies rate of growth.

Total GDP and economic growth are not goals in and of themselves.  They are useful only to the extent that they improve quality of life for American citizens.  We have myopically focused on nothing but total rate of growth for too long.  We have the worldest largest economy, yet we don't have the highest standard of living.

When middle America is ready to head to wall street with AK47s, I'm there.  In the meantime, we have Obama.  Lets not let years of cynacism keep us from appreciating it.