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January 8th, 2010

~Friday~  This morning, I took the bus seat in front of Sci-Fi Fantasy Man who was, well, reading science fiction fantasy, as that's what he does. I was just happy to see him.

In addition to the standard, long bus rear view mirror, on this bus there was a little round mirror as well—about a foot-and-a-half to the right of the standard one. It was the size of one of those two-sided make-up mirrors—with one side regular magnification and the other side magnified enough to scare you—that are sometimes mounted to the wall in hotel bathrooms. One time, I pulled one down with the magnified side facing me and held it to my crotch. Big improvement. But I seriously digress...

Any-hoo, when I looked over into that round bus mirror, who did I see? Me! As if that wasn't exciting enough, I leaned to my left, and who did I see then? Library Man! My characters are slowly making their way back to public transportation.



I'm in a little bit of a funk with work right now, so I'll just mention that I was there today, and I duly attended a meeting for which I took minutes—and leave it at that.

Clearly, the highlight of my work day was my lunch time away from it, during which I met a couple of salon members, Anna and Kim, at the coffee shop right next door to my office building. Anna is always an absolute delight to see, and today was no exception. Kim shared with us, from a history book on Yoga, a "technique" (although, out of context, I'm quite sure it would be referred to as a "trick," or maybe even something you could charge $.50 a person to see at a state fair) that a man can do with his lingam—the Hindu phallic symbol of Siva. In klassy terms, I'd describe it as The Shopvac Dick Trick.

While the book's narrative description of that technique, which I can't even begin to try and reproduce, did make me cringe, it didn't nearly as much as the following graphic description, also shared by Kim in our Salon Entelechy Ning, of a technique that is only connected to the Yoga trick by its shared lingamistic focus. A couple of things, before you (if you) click on this link:

  1. The graphic contains full male frontal nudity—albeit in what I would describe as a "clinical" presentation. But, if you think you might be offended by that, or you're at work and viewing something like that might get you in trouble, then please don't click on it.

  2. Contextually, Kim pointed our salon members to this graphic, because late last year, the salon went to a local drag show, as documented in this blog entry, at which we were all pretty amazed at the talent of one of the drag queens for doing what the famous drag queen The Lady Chablis, from the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, refers to in her book as "Hiding My Candy." So this graphic answers the question, "How do they do that?"

With the only further ado being that once you click on this (again, at your own volition!) you have to click on the resulting image to enlarge it: Japanese job aid for taping one's male genitalia to look like female.



I don't know if being in a funk makes me look harder for affirmations in my life, or if there have just coincidentally been a bunch recently, but what follows is a slew of them that warm my heart, and helps to highlight what's really important in life—people and the relationships you have with them. If this kind of thing makes you want to vomit, then "move along; there's nothing to see here." :-)

  • My friend PJ (who lives in Seattle) is a police officer where there have been several officers slain on duty in the past month or two. She mentioned in one Facebook update that she loves to play Scrabble, so I invited her to play an online game with me. It took us a while to get it together, but once we started playing she said something to the effect of, "No matter how bad things are around me, you always make me laugh. I love you!"

  • My friend Sam (who lives in Durham) is involved in the launching of: BULL SPEC, which "is a professionally- and royalty-paying speculative fiction market and quarterly print magazine with DRM-free, commons-friendly e-books and audiobooks available for 'donate what you like' in English, Spanish, French, and Chinese, based in Durham, NC, US," and he'd "love" to have me do an edit on the issue he is currently working on when it's closer to being ready.

  • My friend Casey (who lives in Denver) is coming here on a business trip the week after next, and instead of staying in a hotel paid for by IBM all week, he's going to stay with me. He spent two weeks with me in May of 2009, and it was a real nice time. Here's to another visit.

  • I received the nicest thank-you note for the holiday photo card I sent to my friend Will (who lives in Cary, and with whom I have ongoing online Scrabble games) that said, "Thank you so much for the card you sent over the holidays! You're a great friend and a terrific Scrabble player. Don't change, Will."

  • Today was the one year anniversary of our salon group. A year ago today, my dear friend Sarah, after hearing an NPR story about salons (I believe that was the impetus) thought of five people she knew, but who didn't necessarily know each other, who might be a good group to begin our own. She described it this way in a "Happy Salon-iversary" posting in our Ning: "One year ago today we all met at Mitch's for our first salon. Who knew what would come out of that meeting? I admit that I was nervous that it wouldn't work out as well as I had hoped. But, between multiple Salons, Latte Fridays, Coffee Klatsch, Smoothie Days, Drag shows, STC events, and random sitings, things have turned out better than I could have dreamed."

    I knew two (Brad and Kim) of the other four members (not counting Sarah, of course), and so I've enriched my relationship with them over the year, and I've made two new awesome friends (Anna and Etta). In response to Sarah's anniversary posting, a few of us so far (including Sarah) have shared a little about what Salon has meant to us this past year:

    • Sarah: I can hardly express how grateful I am to know all of you. Now, I fumble to come up with the words to describe how lucky I feel that I have gotten to know all of you on a different level over the past year through Salon. My little SALON-IVERSARY present to you all are the following three quotes:

      1. A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

      2. Do not save your loving speeches
        For your friends till they are dead;
        Do not write them on their tombstones,
        Speak them rather now instead.
        - Anna Cummins

      3. Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after." -Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    • Kim: This is quite sweet and I'm so happy to read both the quotes and the original invitation [which Sarah had also included in her posting]. In complete honesty, this Salon is where I find myself laughing harder than anywhere else and feeling like I've found my long-lost rhetorical clan. I, too, am so grateful for this... I look forward to every meeting and clear my schedule immediately when an invite comes!

    • Anna: Hear, hear and amen to all of that and especially to the Lindbergh quote. I get such a contact high from you people that I now take coffee to help me come down! I was nervous that night too, since I really only knew you very well, Sarah. Our little salon is a thing of beauty and magic in my world. I have had more unusual happenings (both in the sense of an increased quantity of unusual things and an increase in the un-usuality of those things) and more thoughts came my way via you five in the last year than have in the decade prior. Thankyou thankyou thankyou for making it happen, Sarah!

    • Me: I have a button that says, "I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person." If I spent the rest of my life with only you five Salon members, I could throw that button away. A huge thank you to each of you for the gift of intellect, wit, repartee, joie de vivre, affirmation, and warmth in my heart and life.

  • My colleague and friend Jen, whom I was meeting at the gym shortly thereafter, passed me waiting for the bus and topped to offer (and gave) me a ride home. This is one of those implicit affirmations, as I didn't see her and she could just as easily have passed on by.

  • And these two final ones, which especially juxtaposed made me both laugh and happy:

  • Toward the end of our workouts, Jen said to me, "I'm having a girls night out gathering tonight, and you're welcome to join us."

  • When I turned my phone back on in my car after my workout I had a voice mail message from my married friend Kevin that said, "John, I'm out with Danny [his son] tonight for boy's night out, and we wanted to see if you wanted to join us for dinner."

Not many people have such a diverse group of friends in their lives, or are as in touch with both their masculine and feminine sides, that they could get an invitation to both girl's night out and boy's night out to begin with, not to mention in the same night.



For the record, I did a 60-minute cardio workout tonight, burning off 777 calories, and I ended up staying in, enjoying chatting with Robert and playing online Scrabble with him.

It was cold day weather-wise, but I experienced it with a warm, warm heart.

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