2012 in review

December 31, 2012

i considered writing a profound end of the year post,
something characteristically witty and poignant.
then i realized i didn’t feel like it.
so instead,
i’ll share a link to wordpress’ end of the year report on my blog

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

click here to see the complete report.

and this music video

which is quite clearly the shit.

happy new year bitches!

you’re only a day away

December 17, 2012

i’ve always been on the fragile side when it comes to mental stability,
and grad school has only heighten my general state of anxiety.
it’s to be expected, of course. it’s not meant to be easy.
but it does take its toll now and then:
teeth grinding
odd weight fluctuations
and the occasional inability to sleep.

take last night for instance;
i haven’t been to bed.
or more accurately,
i haven’t been to sleep.
frankly, when you look at your phone and see 5:45 am,
you might as well head just shower and head into starbucks.

that’s right.
i’ve started my day
without finishing the last.
my goal is to wrap up all my work today,
so that i don’t have to do any work tomorrow.

why is tomorrow so important?

why, it’s my birthday, of course.

the big 2-8.
my midlate twenties.
where has the time gone?
what have i accomplished?

no no, i shan’t go down that road again
yes yes, i’m a bit weird about birthdays.
but it’s one of those idiosyncrasies that makes you love me, right?
so i’ll just distract myself from the inevitable,
by imaging all those things in the world i want.

gifts for steven 2012

day 8
those who know me well know i so desire to own a fur. any fur really. maybe not a full length mink, mind you, but an ostentatious collar on an overcoat at the very least. recently, i saw cirilia got this amazing fur collar on her last trip to iceland.
furphoto stolen without any permission whatsoever from cirilia’s blog.

it’s apparently made from wolf. the sight of it arose in me such an envy as i have not felt in years. i must own a somewhat larger equivalent.
i must.

day 9
on a more practical note, i’m preparing my comps proposal. the comps is an exam one takes and must pass in order to be allowed to pursue one’s dissertation. it requires reading roughly 150 books and then being tested on them. you are given 5 questions. you must answer 3. your answers can range anywhere from 60 to 120 pages. and you only have a weekend to write them. this is then followed by an oral defense at which your committee becomes a verbal firing squad and you must defend your work and demonstrate you’re actually a badass at all of this academic nonsense.

but the first step is forming the list and getting the books. this will be an expensive endeavor. luckily, a) there’s the library for books i’ll need to read but won’t need to own and b) my uncle just sent me an amazon gift card. it was rather a generous amount for a nephew as old as i. i’ve spent half of it on next semester’s books, all french literature concerned with explicit representations of sex. so. exciting. still, some of it will be left over to help build my personal library.

day 10
i don’t know about you, but i grew up in a house where the thermostat was set at whatever the hell we felt like. as a kid, if i wanted to sit around on the couch in my tight-whities in the dead of winter, i just turned that dial and on the heater went. similarly, we keep it as glacial as possible in the summer, just warm enough so that my mother’s bird doesn’t die. now that i must pay my own bills, i’ve become like my miserly grandparents. they lived through the war and the depression. baths at grandma’s house were in an inch of lukewarm water and the thermostat sat at roughly 63°F. i keep mine at an inhuman 60°. and yet still, my bill is creeping up. and it’s not even cold here yet! i suspect mo turns it up when i’m out. when someone asks me what i want for my birthday, why isn’t it appropriate to say, “can you pay my gas bill?”

day 11
david of southern cross fibre has recently woven this amazing fucking twill that will apparently become dishtowels for some clearly underserving person. it’s clear to me that i must own them. i simply need to go to australia and steal it. that’s where you come in. you’re in charge of my ticket, ok? and you have to make it snappy because it’s already my birthday over there. australia’s in the future. go ahead. i’ll need an aisle seat though. don’t even bother if you can’t get an aisle seat. (do you have to pick locks upside down down under?)

day 12
i’m also going to need a flight to l.a. izznit said she’d bring me a doughnut if ever i’m in l.a. i really want a doughnut so obviously, i need to fly there.
after australia of course.
i’ll settle for business class.

day 13
do you think i can pull this off? there’s only one way to know.

day 14
i recently found out i won’t actually be getting a christmas break this year. i’m on this pretty important committee and i have a huge pile of documents to get through by the second week of next semester. as the lone grad student on the committee, my voice is barely heard. i need to make sure i’m extra prepared if i’m to have any say or sway. so obviously i need a spectrum bundle from purl soho because i’m obviously going to learn how to make a log cabin quilt over break.

day 15
i’m going to need clive owen. just because.
clive-owen-pictures-1-0309-lgseriously. get on that.

day 16
how much does a rolex cost, exactly?

day 17
every pair of jeans i own eventually gets a hole in the exact same place in my crotch area, just right of center. the other day i went to macy’s to get a new pair. they had a wicked double sale and i got them for only $11! i was trying on the smaller size, determining whether or not they were too snug because i’m a fatty or because of the enormous anti-theft device in the waist band, when i noticed something in the mirror. i took a step closer and a wave of terror and nausea came over me. i almost fainted. there, in the unforgiving light of a shitty ass macy’s changing room one of my worst fears was confirmed: my hair is starting to thin. now, normally, this isn’t a problem. i keep my hair buzzed almost to my scalp anyway. it’s been like that for a couple of years now which is likely why i never noticed. but i’ve let things slide recently and the hair grew out a little. and that fucking light illuminated some fucking scalp. i considered suicide in that moment, but the only weapon to hand was a single, sad little pin in the changing room and i couldn’t figure out how to best use it. so for day 17, i’ll be needing either some rogaine or a membership at the hair club for men.

while any and all presents (including that porche i once had within my grasp yet somehow slipped through my fingers) would be amazing, for my actual birthday, i desire (and expect to get) very little. i plan on stuffing myself with thai food, getting completely lit, and going to bed early. no cake. no singing. no party. no bar. just food i didn’t pay for, intoxicants, and my tacky-as-fuck childhood bed. but maybe you could leave a comment. that’d be a pretty awesome birthday gift.

right to write

December 11, 2012

hello everyone, from finals island!
while finals time is always hellish,
this is the first finals in. my. life.
where i am not panicked.
but that little voice that has been telling me for years to work ahead,
get things done, don’t put unnecessary stress on yourself,
a voice i have largely ignored for going on 28 years*,
finally got through, and for the first time
i won’t have to rush to finish.

go. me.

now of course as soon as i hit that little blue publish button on this post,
i will have thoroughly jinxed myself and my computer will explode or
i’ll forget the english language or something.

i guess i better make this post count, then.

one of my favorite activities is imaging that i’ve won the lottery.
the following hour is taken up by a reverie of how i’d spend the cash.
it usually involves real estate and world travel,
with a dash of setting up my friends for life.

imaging the getting of things is my hobby.

i must admit, when i wrote my last post,
i never actually thought anyone would send me a gift.
i was merely indulging in one of my favorite pastimes,
(and thought it might make for a somewhat humorous post)
receiving starbucks cards in my inbox frankly shocked me.
and that shock has left me speechless ever since.

i went through many stages of reaction to the presents.
the first was simply the joyful exclamation of PRESENTS!
then my humility kicked in and i thought about how lucky i am that people think me cool enough to treat me to coffee,
the source of my existence.
then that pesky bit of catholicism that i can’t seem to get rid of made me feel ashamed for asking for gifts;
how greedy.
how selfish.
how humiliating.
i couldn’t get the sound of my friend anna’s voice out of my head; her diatribe against annie modesitt’s greedy call for money reverberates in my mind.

(to be fair, she’s not alone in her contempt, but anna has a special way of putting things that just stays with one)

then i came to my fucking senses.

i wasn’t giving anyone a line. i didn’t say i was in desperate need of aid; i’m not haiti for christ’s sake. all i said was i like presents and as i get older i seem to get less of them and that it annoys the heck out of me that, during the holidays, people don’t just ask for what they want. i mean, people send glozell brita filters and tampax. if friends and strangers want to buy me a cup of coffee, i should just say thank you and smile, knowing there are nice people in the world.

(thank you fairy godmothers of coffee!)

i’m shameless.
so let’s continue, shall we, with

gifts for steven 2012

day 7
twice a year, i make my way to the douglas j to get a facial. when i lived in chicago and made entry-level cubical money for an evil multinational corporation, i had a beauty regimen that rivaled any aging actress afraid of being cast as a mother in her next film. i can still remember the glorious pain as the polish esthetician (we’ll call her olga for lack of an better memory) buffed my fingernails to the point where i could literally see my face reflected in them. (the first time that happened, i went around having other people look at themselves in my nails) in those days, i was 5 years younger and far more beautiful than i am today. today, when i make my pilgrimage to douglas j and lay down my credit card, i can look forward to the horrified look of the master esthetician as she sees what truly neglected pores look like. she does what she can and i’m frankly shocked with the results; i look smoother, younger, and pinker. with the fervency of a pulmonologist begging her patient to quit smoking, or a dentist praying his patient will finally floss regularly, she always warns me that these results are temporary, that i need to do something to take care of my face on a regular basis. still, for the next few days, i am beautiful again. i don’t even know if they do gift cards, but if they did, maybe i’d get to be pretty three times a year.

day 8
of course all of this might be moot because i’m going to protest at the capital today. i’ll be tweeting while i’m there. there’s going to be a heavy police presence, so i’m sure people are going to be arrested. i won’t be able to get a facial in jail, at least not the kind i’d need to pay for. so for day 8, just wish me and my friends a safe return (and that my union doesn’t become illegal in the next couple days). that feels apropos for the season, right?

here goes nothing!

*holy fuck i’m turing 28 in a week.

ps sending things to bloggers is a tricky business. when i wanted to get something to stephen a.k.a. hizknits i sent it to his then place of employment (blue moon). but then, i’m a particularly innovative stalker when i want to give someone a gift. to the lovely people who have asked for my address to send me gifts, i’m torn. i worry that giving internet strangers with candy my address will put mo at risk. he’s very portable and friendly and even the most ethical person wouldn’t think twice about stealing him. giving you my address is basically inviting you to purloin him.

i mean, which do really love more, presents or mo?

i’ll think it over.

green thumb

December 6, 2012

i always credit the yarn harlot for getting me into knitting,
and i suppose she’s part of the reason i got into blogging.
though really i think the only similarities between our blogs
is that they’re both humorous (mostly) and center on knitting.
after that, we pretty much have nothing in common.

let’s compare:

  • the harlot is a
  • short
  • thin
  • canadian
  • oldest child
  • married
  • straight
  • vegetarian
  • mother of three
  • in her forties
  • and i’m a
  • tall
  • chubby
  • american
  • only child
  • single
  • gay
  • everythingavore
  • dog owner
  • in his twenties

and yet somehow, despite all that difference,
i find her blog and life to be thoroughly compelling.
very rarely do i ever ‘not like’ what she writes.
one of the rare exceptions is her annual gifts for knitters.
i find the hole thing to be irritating,
not because the information she provides isn’t useful or accurate,
but because it is completely ridiculous that anyone should have to go to an outside source to find out what to get for a friend or loved one. you either know him or her well enough to get them what they want, or else you should be able to be a grown up and just ask. this whole need to ‘surprise’ someone with the perfect gift is, frankly, asinine and too much pressure. what people want is a gift they’ll enjoy. so why not ask them?

but more importantly,
no one seems inclined to buy me anything. maybe it’s because i’m a december baby (my birthday is exactly one week before christmas); i’m highly sensitive to gift giving at december time. it just seems like, if one doesn’t have a family of one’s own, after the age of 21,
no one is inclined to get one (me) a gift.

all of my friends are too new to my life
to feel inclined to get me anything.
they’re also grad students,
so they have no money.

and my parents,
my dear dear parents,
they get me things throughout the year that i need,
things like food,
or a new phone,
or my gas bill in the winter.
making them exempt from any familial obligation to get me a gift.

that just leaves mo, and frankly,
he can’t be bothered.

i’m an only child,
which means i have deeply ingrained belief
that i deserve a gift a christmastime.
no amount of rationalization
or lies about the joys of giving
or reflection on how much i have compared to others
will ever wipe away the feeling that i’m getting jipped at the holidays.

and so in the spirit of ‘the secret’
(which has inexplicably been working for me this year
even though i’ve never actually read the book)
i’ve decided to ask, believe, and receive some gifts i want.
nothing unreasonable or outrageous, mind you,
just some shit to make my life
a little brighter.

gifts for steven 2012
days 1-6.

a starbucks card. perhaps you think that making this the gift for days 1 through 6 is a cop out, and i’m just doing it to catch up on the days of december. you would be wrong. the amount of time and more importantly money i spend at starbucks is obscene. i go every day, sometimes multiple times a day. i write at the starbucks on grand river, and i frequent the starbucks in my building at least five days a week. it’s eating a whole in my budget, and size orman specifically told me not to buy coffee in her book young fabulous and broke, but since i’m beyond addicted, it’s up to you to solve my willpower problem.

stay tuned as i tell you more things you can get me for this,
my birthday and christmas season.
(i also happily welcome channukah and solstice gifts)

oh yeah!
i almost forgot the whole point of this post.
after less than one year in the pot,
not only is my christmas cactus thriving,
it’s fucking blooming, bitches!
DPP_1358this is the very first house plant i have every kept alive. ever.
while i grew up gardening in the country,
and can easily cultivate flora out of doors,
that skill has never translated indoors;
i’m absolute rubbish with potted plants.
but this, this christmas cactus,
one of my favorite plants,
it’s fucking blooming!

i’m telling you, bitches;
ask, believe, receive.
oprah wasn’t lying.

let the charity continue!

December 3, 2012

if you’ve been at this knitting thing long enough,
you’ve probably been exposed to a certain amount of spinning.
you may have even gone down the dark path to bliss that is weaving.

if this is the case,
then you’ve heard of judith mackenzie.
if you haven’t, please do crawl out from under that rock;
it can’t possibly be comfortable under there.

judith mackenzie is a textile ‘goddess’ as they say,
personally, i prefer the term ‘witch’,
but potAYto potAHto, right?

her book the intentional spinner is an invaluable, wee tome,
a must have for anyone who takes their fiber arts seriously.
(for real. go buy it now)

she’s also the artist in residence at the rainforest arts center in forks, washington. or rather,
she was.

you see,
last month the place burnt down,
taking all her fiber, wheels, and looms with it.
and one can’t really be an artist in residence if, well,
there’s no residence in which to be an artist.

several people have blogged about it,
including her close friend, the yarn harlot.
and a bunch of people are coming together to help her rebuild,
not only the building, but her life.

including my good friend tina newton,
the maniacal brain behind blue moon fiber arts.

in order to help raise money for judith,
tina is auctioning off a day with her (and the chickens) in the blue moon dye barn.
this, my lovelies, is the treat of all treats. just imagine it:

a barn is tucked away just outside of portland oregan in the hilly hamlet of scappoose. in the middle of the woods, you see the chimney smoke and hear the of the ladies of the barn, a faint cackling as they dye up some lucky bitch’s sock yarn order. you also hear the gentle clucking of chickens and cheeping of chicks in the distance as tina takes your hand and shows you the magic happiness that is yarn, dye, and vinegar, a joy that has as yet been missing from your life. eight hours later, you walk away with an armful of yarn and a few extra points on the the ‘nice’ side of santa’s list for helping a fellow fiber artist get back on her feet.

(ok so the actual details can be found here, but my version sounds better and is equally accurate)

you have less than a day and a half to place your bids.
this is a serious auction, bitches; they’re not fucking around.
but if you’re looking for a once in a lifetime experience,
and i can guarantee you it will be,
then bid away, bitches!

how can you possibly resist this women?
depraved dyer

if a day with tina is out of your budget, check out this website for other ways to help.

the results show

December 2, 2012

yesterday was quite a ride.

i thought the fact that i gave myself a month of planning this time around would make it less stressful. it wasn’t. if anything, it just meant more pressure to do well, to at least match last year’s total (with vain hopes of far surpassing it) it’s like adding a part time job to one’s life. i will say, however, it’s given me an insight into the world of fundraising, promotion, cross-promotion, business, and all that kind of stuff.

i mean, it wasn’t as tough as last year in that i didn’t have to ‘cold call’ people to help, and i have enough friend in the biz that i knew at least i’d get some great prizes to donate. but it was interesting to see who’ll actually return your email, and who won’t, who’ll tell you ‘no, we’re not interested in helping’ and who just ignores you completely, who won’t respond to your email, but then still help promote on the day without even letting you know! it was also interesting to see who’s voice prompted the most traffic, whose readers are the most generous, and which kinds of people are the ones who care the most.

i’m way into tracking my stats
and there were some interesting ones this time around.

for instance.

this year there was a lot of international support,
with donations made from people in the u.s., canada, the uk, sweden, and the federated states of micronesia!
(i admit to having to look that up.
they’re islands near australia)

this year, more than 7% of visitors made a donation whereas
only 2.5% of people who visited the site made a donation last year.

but that number is tempered by the fact that
i got roughly 45% less traffic to the site this year,
even with all the extra promotion people provided.
(maybe because it was a saturday?)

but! there were 50% more people that actually make a donation.

last year i had a lot of $100+ donations,
whereas this year i had many between $1-$10.
most of those people were either on a tight budget,
but a good 5% of donations came from people who were unemployed!
$10 from a person with no income? that’s generosity!

this year, almost every single email included an apology for not being able to donate more, even if they were donating over $100. all of those apologies came from women. the mind reels.

last year, an official count from the pittsburgh aids task force confirmed that we raised $4,765.00 with around $100 going to other hiv testing centers as well, making a grand total of ~$4865.00.

this year, based on the numbers people gave me in their emails, pledges for matching donations from people’s employers, and a couple donations going to other hiv testing centers we raised, $4979.40 (the 40¢ cracks me up). while i wanted to make it to a solid $5000.00, i still beat last year’s number! and got a lot more people involved.

what matters is that we raised enough money to pay for roughly 122 rapid hiv tests. that’s the only number i care about.

not too shabby for day’s work, eh?

now i’m off to consult the random number generator, and email the winners. keep your eyes on your inboxes, bitches!

edit: all winners have been notified. have you checked your inbox? thanks to everyone who donated!

sorry but the giveaway is now closed! but even though entries are no longer being accepted, if you still want to make a donation, please go here and then send me an email so i can add it to the grand total

thanks to everyone who helped me out.
this was amazing.
now, to bed!

(results will be posted tomorrow)


today is world aids day.

here are some statistics about hiv & aids:

-33.4 million people are currently living with hiv/aids.

-more than 25 million people have died of aids worldwide since the first cases were reported in 1981.

-in the united states, more than one million people are living with hiv.

-and 1 in 5 (20%) of people living with hiv is unaware of their infection.

it’s that last one that i find scary and unacceptable, and why places like the lansing area aids network are so important. they provide free, confidential testing with results in 20 minutes and provide resources for people with hiv that have nowhere else to go.

last year, my last-minute, hair-brained idea turned into a real live fundraiser that raised nearly $5000 dollars for my former local hiv testing center, the pittsburgh aids task force. if my little voice on the internet could get people to be so generous, how could i not try again this year?

and so i give you
the bitches get stitches world aids day project – take two

with the help of many generous sponsors,
i have a total of 39 prizes to give away to you, my lovelies,
in order to help raise money for the lansing area aids network.
every $40 we raise means one more person can find out their hiv status in a safe, confidential, and professional environment at no cost to them.

wanna to help me out?
and get your hands on this loot?

the how:
1. click this link to visit the lansing area aids network website and make a donation via paypal. the suggested minimum donation is $40, the cost of one rapid hiv test. however, i know $40 is a lot money for a lot of people (myself included). since i don’t want to discourage anyone from making a donation they can afford, all donations will be accepted, even if it’s only $1.

2. shoot me an email at bgsworldaidsdayproject@gmail.com to let me know you made a donation and the amount you donated (just so i can tally the total). the details of your personal information and donation amount will be kept completely confidential.

3. winners will be chosen at random. it could be you!

the fine bold print:
*entries will only be accepted on world aids day itself (dec 1st)! this means 12:00am – 11:59pm is your 24 hour window to make a donation and send me an email to be entered to win some loot. i’m in the eastern standard time zone here people, so my giveaway is too!

sound like a plan?

donate bitches!

p.s. see that share button below? use it!