November 4th, 2010

Keep Walking

I'm Booking 2011 Events Now!

For those of you that closely watch "Where's Chaz", my online travel & event calendar -- you'll have noticed that I've already booking things out into May 2011. There's still a lot of 'empty space', but there are many reasons for this... the main one being an unknown work schedule.

My biggest gripe with my current job is that it requires me to work 12-hour overnight shifts every Thursday, Friday and Saturday (and every other Wednesday) from 8PM ET to 8AM ET -- this means I do not get to have a life (as normal people know it) -- my days off are Monday, Tuesday and every other Wednesday. Don't tell me I'm unappreciative, as am very happy to have a job -- I'm just very dissatisfied with the fact I'm always working every weekend, unless I take it off without pay.

It's a work/life imbalance and I've getting close to the breaking point. Consider this:

- My husband works 11am-8pm M-F. When do we see each other?? When do we sleep together?!?
- My friends work M-F 9-5 and plan everything around the weekend. When do I see them?
- Broadway is dark on Monday and the bars suck. What do I do on my 'days off'?

So, I'm putting coal on the fire and have been applying myself looking for a new job. I have a slew of interviews already this month, and since I'm already working, I can be selective -- not desperate. So, not knowing for sure what my schedule will be in 2011 makes planning difficult...

2011 'Locked In' Plans

January 17-23 ... Visiting Dave, Mark & the kids (goats) in New Hampshire
April 28-May 11 ... Great British Bear Bash, Nottingham, London & Paris

Some things I'd like to do, but haven't planned/locked in yet

January 28-30 ... Sno-Bear Weekend (BGR)
February 4-6 ... Winterlude (YOW)
February 17-21 ... Close Encounters of the Bear Kind - IBR 17 (SFO)
April 7-10 ... Drenched Fur 7 (ERI)
May 20-23 ... Rochester Rams' CanAm Weekend (ROC)
June 3-5 ... ECMC's 47th Annual Biker's Weekend (NYC)
June 30-July 2 ... Spearhead of Toronto 'Mariposa Belle' Canada Day Boat Cruise (YYZ)
July 3-5 ... Independence Day Celebration at Al & Dan's (ROC)
August 26-28 ... Rochester Rams' 36th Annual Leather Run (ROC)
September 15-18 ... Orlando Bear Bash 2011 (MCO)

General things...

— Go somewhere warm for a week/weekend (San Diego, Palm Springs, anywhere) during winter
— Cross-Canada train trip ending in Vancouver (with stops in at least Winnipeg and Calgary)
— Return to Asia at least once in 2011

Keep Walking

Yo Ho Yo Ho a Pirate’s Life for Me

According to history professor Barry R. Burg, amid the climate of toleration of the English Restoration Era, there flourished one of the most unusual homosexually oriented groups in history, the Caribbean Pirates. That men who went to sea generally practiced sodomy is not a startling revelation. Even Winston Churchill was attributed to have remarked that “rum, sodomy and the lash” were Royal Naval traditions.

The Royal Navy filled its ranks from beggar boys and vagrants, often against the will of these youths, who regularly fell victim to the Navy’s press gangs. Once on board their first navy vessel these boys may have resisted sexual contact with their shipmates before succumbing to the prevailing sexual practices. In fact, the proportion of situational homosexuality must have risen in both the Navy and the commercial fleet during these ‘recruitment’ practices. Still, many other men joined the Royal Navy because they preferred the company of men to women. Ironically, the primary source of hands to man pirate vessels came from the vast pool of sailors who were pressed into service and had learned seamanship aboard ships of England’s merchant or naval fleets.

The origins of English piracy in the Caribbean reach back to the 16th century when Spain founded her American Empire on Indian gold and silver. Elizabethan adventurers and “sea dogs” discovered that vast treasures could be had by raiding Spanish settlements and capturing their treasure transports. English sea rovers returned home rich from their New World plundering, and reports of their successes encouraged others to follow their leads. If the royal government received its portion of the Spanish booty then they authorized the actions of the “privateers.” But if they did not, they called these adventurers pirates.

In the early 17th century, English colonies were not planned as permanent places of residence for large populations. They were commercial enterprises, and in the West Indies and Virginia they required the establishment of all-male villages. A census of Barbados residents in 1635 showed “94 percent were male, none were under 10 years old and they were virtually no married couples among the group.”

In 1655 Margaret Heathcote of Antigua wrote to her cousin John Winthrope Jr., governor of Massachusetts saying: “And truly Sir, I am not much in love with any as to go much abroad … they all be a company of sodomites that live here.”

That same year Admiral Sir William Penn (father of the founder of Pennsylvania) captured Jamaica and with it Port Royal, which served for a time as the capital of Caribbean piracy. When Governor Thomas Modyford, in 1664, began encouraging pirates to seek safety in Jamaica, there were 22 full time privateering crafts using Port Royal’s facilities and each may have carried an average crew of 60 men.

Port Royal was reputed to have been the most corrupt and debauched town in all England’s dominions. Yet nowhere in the surviving evidence of the city’s demographics is there any evidence of a large contingent of unattached women or prostitutes to serve the hundreds of mariners always in port. Port Royal was universally known as the Sodom of the Caribbean. An earthquake in 1692 caused two thirds of the city to sink into the Caribbean Sea killing between 1,000 and 3,000 people — over half the city’s population.

Men who sailed aboard vessels flying the Jolly Roger most often decided to become pirates when their own ship was taken by a buccaneer craft. Others who signed aboard pirate crafts usually did so after jumping ship half a world away from England. Often they had grown to manhood among the predominantly male shipboard environment where homosexuality or homosexual acts were accepted practice. English sailors, who knowingly elected to live in the all-male environment of the seafarer, found the sexual situation on pirate ships similar to that they had abandoned as honest seamen.

In the 17th century, sodomy, rather than oral sex, was the preference among homosexuals due to the lack of personal hygiene. Among the middle and lower classes, body cosmetics were unknown, and soap and water were rarely or never used. In countries where circumcision is rare, the continual accumulation of smegmal matter, bodily secretions, fecal and urinary traces, perspiration, bacteria and dirt in the pubic area and its pungent odor rendered the practice of oral genital contact generally obnoxious. So uncircumcised English men restricted themselves to sexual practices such as anal intercourse and masturbation.

Among the Caribbean pirates there was a unique institution called “matelotage.” It began as no more than a master-servant relationship which originated in cases of men selling themselves to other men to satisfy debts or to obtain food. In many cases matelots were no more than slaves – overworked, beaten, sexually abused, murdered or sold by their masters. However, pirates later considered matelotage as a bond of inviolate attachment existing between two men that existed as long as the master wanted it to remain.

A sharing of all property was a recognized feature of matelotage. The common ownership of goods even extended in most cases to inheritance. In the Caribbean, when a pirate died, all his goods went to his partner, whether master or matelot. So strong was the practice of matelotage that after the attack on Maracaibo, the pirate Captain L’Olonnais was careful to make sure that the booty was divided not only among the survivors, but that the portions belonging to those killed were distributed to their matelots.

On the rare occasion when pirates took wives, the rights of the matelot were eroded only in terms of his claim to the survivor’s benefits. If he still remained a matelot during his master’s marriage, he retained access to his master’s property and could demand and usually obtained the same connubial rights as the wife.

When Captain Louis Le Golif married a woman in 1665, the captain’s matelot Pulverin, was distraught but subsequently claimed his rights and was admitted into the marriage chamber. Pulverin was never reconciled to sharing Le Golif with a female and in due course he obtained revenge on his female rival. On returning from a raid, the Captain sent Pulverin ahead to notify the waiting wife of her husband’s impending return. Madam Le Golif was caught in bed with another man and Pulverin killed the woman and her lover, then disappeared. Captain Le Golif eventually found another matelot named LeBeque and was especially fond of him, but he never recovered entirely from the loss. His heart remained with Pulverin.

Professor Burg claimed through his studies that the sexual unions between buccaneers often involved deep and abiding love. The attachment of buccaneers to their matelots, boys and lovers is evidence that homosexual passions were easily as intense as those as heterosexuals and were instances of deepest devotion.

Ben Williams, Oct 28, 2010
Original article here.

Reference: Barry R. Burg, Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition: English Sea Rovers in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean NYU Press, 1995.

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Keep Walking

50 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Live in New York City

Sometimes life seems hard here -- the crowds, the expense, the 24-hour-living-and-working lifestyle...But then there are days, like yesterday, when we're ever so glad we live in New York City. Like when much of the rest of the nation goes a reddish color of Tea Party, and we stick to coffee and stay (largely) blue. Like when Andrew Cuomo wins against Carl Paladino. And like when the Aeropostale at Times Square institutes an "AERO Dance Cam" to keep the young folks away from the East Village on weekends and allow us to mock them via the Internet...

Amen. Here are 50 other reasons to be blissfully happy that you live in New York City today -- and every day -- that you live here. May it be a very long time. Unless you want to leave, in which case, get the fuck out, and can we have your apartment?

50. Sending your laundry out for someone else to wash and dry it is not only convenient, it's just good business. Especially since you will probably never own a washer and dryer. Which means you never have to feel guilty about not doing your own laundry. Next.

49. Drinking coffee four times a day, every day, isn't the exception, it's the rule.

48. The secret Chick Fil-A at the NYU dining hall.

47. There is always someone crazier than you. ALWAYS.

46. The view from the Brooklyn Bridge.

45. The view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

44. The epic feeling you get running to catch a train and succeeding...just before the doors close.

43. Bored to Death. 30 Rock. SNL. And a million other things that film here and we love. RIP Law and Order.

42. Manhattan-Brooklyn/Brooklyn-Manhattan wars never cease to entertain. Nor do hipster-Hasid wars. Or hipsters in general.

41. We get the inside jokes. Because, actually, we made them up in the first place.

40. That horrified look on our parents' friends' faces when we tell them we live in "Hell's Kitchen."

39. Sure, we work out next to Alec Baldwin, Padma Lakshmi, and Bridget Moynahan, and walk the streets with Willem Dafoe, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Tina Fey, but, really, we're kinda too busy with our own lives to notice.

38. Drinking is like breathing. Or slightly more acceptable.

37. Because it's not enough to just love New York. New York needs to love you back, too. Hey, we have high standards.

36. Whatever you need, whenever you need it, there is someone who will bring it to you for a price, which may or may not be negotiable. (Or legal.)

35. By the time the rest of the nation has bedbugs, we'll have figured out how to get rid of them. In the meantime, we'll mock them by dressing our dogs up as bedbugs for Halloween. Laugh in the face of fear, New Yorker!

34. There are almost 200 bars in the East Village alone.

33. There's no shortage of stupid rich people to make fun of.

32. The endless delights of the New York Post.

31. You don't even need a passport, or a license, to partake in goat-eyeball tacos.

30. The fact that one-bedroom apartments cost an average minimum of a half-million dollars means we think nothing of spending $12 on lunch.

29. Restaurants are as common as single men and women. And equally diverse. And you never have to see either of them again after the initial awkward encounter.

28. The omnipresent opportunity to Gaga-ify yourself. And the chance that it will seem, just, normal.

27. Runnin' Scared lives here! (And so does the Village Voice.)

26. Smart people are the norm, not the exception. (Which doesn't mean they're sane, but at least no one's boring.)

25. Except in select 'hoods like Park Slope and perhaps the Upper West Side, children are viewed as mysterious beings, rarely sighted and only occasionally understood, like pixies or magical small butlers. Until they scream, in which case, they are banished from the palace.

24. When you fly back into the city after a vacation or business trip, no matter how long you've lived here, you get that butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling.

23. Efficiency in a drugstore checkout line.

22. How easy it is to find doughnuts, pizza, Chinese food, or any other snack your drunken self desires at 4 a.m. Or to continue to drink. Responsibly!

21. Broadway. Museums. CULTCH-AH. Even if you never actually go to see anything (though you should, at least once).

20. Yelling "fuck" is just a mild obscenity.

19. There's no shame in sticking your fingers in your ears like an anal weirdo when an ambulance goes by screeching.

18. Summer concerts at the Williamsburg Waterfront.

17. So many Missed Connections, so little time.

16. Other places have dog and cat people. We have ferret people.

15. The splendor of the Union Square Greenmarket.

14. A bagel with cream cheese and lox from Russ and Daughters.

13. There is an insane Korean day spa (Spa Castle) waiting for you in Flushing. And Russian and Turkish baths in the East Village.

12. One of our bars has 100-year-old urinals.

11. Complain about the MTA, but you can get anywhere in the city for just $2.25. Or $2.50 single ride, come 2011. Still pretty damn cheap.

10. Subway rage. Bike-lane rage. Walking rage. Random rage. These are our therapy. Although we all go to therapy, too. No judgments! We bitch, therefore we are.

9. Jaywalking is an art form.

8. The free Ikea ferry to Red Hook on weekends! Plus, Red Hook in general. Can you say "Lobster pound"?

7. Subway "prewalking," in which you walk to the exact right spot on the platform to board the train car that will save you the most time upon exit, exists and has a name. Gotta respect.

6. You can be alone, but never feel lonely. And vice versa. But if you die and aren't found until a year later, you won't be the first.

5. We are, as a group, anti-fanny-pack as much as we are pro-gay-marriage. Hetero marriage, on the other hand, we can pretty much take or leave.

4. 35 is the new 26. Or is it 45? Whatever, age ain't nuthin' but a number, and as long as you're younger than your IQ score, no harm, no foul.

3. Finding your "local" is that much better here.

2. There is absolutely no reason to ever drink and drive. Added bonus: Spontaneous, fascinating conversations with cab drivers.

1. If you can make it here, you really can make it anywhere. But why would you bother to go anywhere else?

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