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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mind Theatres

Or Asexuality, Kink, Beauty, Control, & How I’d Like To Fit It All Together.

Hello there. I'd been meaning to write about this subject for a while now - but then this month's Carnival Of Aces rolled around, and it felt like the perfect excuse to actually do it. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a blogging carnival, it basically works like this: a host suggests a topic, people write about the aforementioned topic, and the entries get collected for easy reference. And if you're not familiar with the concept of asexuality... I'd like to maybe direct you to AVEN.

Also, I'd like to point out a few details, before we move on. This piece is about me. It's about my own experience as an asexual person with - somewhat - kinky sensibilities. These are individual ideas, thoughts and experiences, and they don't represent anyone other than myself.

Possible trigger warnings:
- Strong wording, as in “destroy” and “person” in the same line.
- Hypothetical situations – fantasies, if you will – where consent isn’t clear. Nothing graphic, nothing explicit, but I think the overall tone might just be worth the warning.
Thursday, March 28, 2013

Calendar Fiction

Ah, Spring break. I'm only entitled to a few days this year (from today to... Monday), but I'll try to make the best of them. I've been dreaming of long walks with my dog and my camera, a little terrarium, a few hours with a cup of tea to finally finish my bone chapel book. And I've been dreaming of ten hours of sleep and not having to rush anywhere. But above all things, I've been dreaming of a shoulder that doesn't hurt when I use my arm for more than ten minutes.

Which is kind of a brilliant way to finish this post, because it's hurting right now and I have to go out to catch a train anyway. Also, I'm noticing... these photos were taken around Christmas, and three months later, ah, the weather hasn't changed at all. I guess it's still legitimate to post them now, then?

Have a great Thursday!

PS - That's my dog, above. That's 8-year-old Bo, who's been with us for less than a year now. His previous owners couldn't keep him, and they were planning on putting him down. My father knew someone who knew them, the situation became somewhat known, and since we were thinking about getting ourselves a big dog to keep around the country house... we ended up adopting him. I won't say I wasn't scared of the possibilities, at first. I wasn't sure an 8-year-old dog who'd spent so much time in less-than-ideal conditions would adapt well to a new family and completely new surroundings. But he did, and it's been a wonderful experience, having him around. I mean, I'm only his second favorite person (after my dad... those two have the most amazing connection), but that's good enough for me. He's still my favorite dog. Even if he can't walk on a leash, or run in a straight line without bumping against things, or move up and down stairs with any semblance of grace, or play catch more than three times in a row...
Monday, March 25, 2013

Saints On A Hilltop

I want to try something a little different - because I could tell you about my latest adventure, yes, I really could, but I'd prefer to take you with me. So humour me for a little bit.

Imagine a hill. A small hill, very quaint-looking, covered in greenery, and on top, a watchtower. You like watchtowers. You like high places in general, because they're calm, deserted, and just slightly dangerous. You somewhat expect you'll be able to reach the top by car, but a staircase, wide at the bottom, narrow with a precarious railing at the top, is all you need to realise your mistake. You can walk, or you can leave.

You walk. The first few steps are easy, and you stop a few times to photograph the remnants of a storm. Trees split in half. Landslides. Fortunately, the day is clear, sharp, and even though it's windy, it's manageable. You feel safe among the wreckage. You keep climbing steps. Two thirds of the way up, you look down, and snap that view, too. On the horizon, the ocean, and the sky looking like a layer cake - golden and misty over the water, topped with a thin strip of blue-grey clouds, finished off with an endlessness of powder blue. The last few steps are horribly narrow, the railing horribly unsteady under your fingertips - you pull your hand away to find it coloured with specks of orange-brown rust.

You take a few seconds to catch your breath, to take in your new surroundings. You've reached the top. The watchtower rises in front of you, a wooden cabin on concrete stilts. To your left, another building, small, abandoned, a door of vertican iron bars left ajar. Inside, a blanket. You exchange a look with your travelling companion, and it means keep your eyes open, we may not be alone. You explore for a few minutes. You spot a railing on top of a boulder and decide it's there to keep people from falling - therefore, people can get up there. You walk around it, trying to find some sort of makeshift stairs. There are none. But there is a wide crack, and if you jam your back against one side you might be able to use your feet against the other, and hoist yourself up. It works. You're about as tall a the watchtower now, and wondering why it was even built when there was a perfectly good boulder a few feet away.

But that's not all. As you're about to start the long way back down, you realise you haven't fully explored the small building. You walk around it. There's another door. But this time, there are no blankets.

(Capela de S. Brás - Monte de S. Bartolomeu, Nazaré)

I did a bit of research on the place last night, and against all odds, it really isn't abandoned. It was built in honor of S. Brás (that would be Saint Blaise, for the english speakers), whose relics were supposedly brought here back in 711, and the locals still gather here every year on February 3rd, to celebrate his feast day. Unrelated, but still somewhat interesting, there are two tombstones in the chapel (you can see them on the photo above, the stone slabs on the floor), dated 1839 and 1859.

Not bad for a random adventure, if I do say so myself.

And also, a slight reminder that even if places of worship come in all shapes and sizes, they all pull at my heartstrings with the same mix of wonder, discomfort, respect, and inadequacy.

Oh, the woes of the aesthetically driven skeptic.
Saturday, March 16, 2013

Things That Aren't A Statue, Part II

(Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis - Rua D. Manuel II, Porto)

Okay, no more museums after this post. I promise. For a while, at least. Anyway, huh... I think this was my favorite part of the visit. I like knick-knacks, and things that have actually been used, and beautiful old rooms. Besides, isn't it amazing, the kind of craftsmanship that must have gone into making, say, that golden-and-red cross, or that box, or that harp? Ugh. To put this simply, details give me feelings.

Unfortunately, I went to a flea market today and found a grand total of zero items worth bringing home. Still worth it - the weather was kind of nice (though kinda cold, for March?, I walked a lot (my internship has been turning my days into a succession of padded chairs and I hate it), my legs hurt, and I have the rest of the weekend all to myself.

Exciting hours ahead!

PS - And by exciting I mean I'll probably eat and read and take naps.
PPS - Oh, and also, yes, there was a perfectly good mirror on the other side of the room, but why bother.
Thursday, March 14, 2013

Things That Aren't A Statue, Part I

(Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis - Rua D. Manuel II, Porto)

More shots from the museum, this time, the paintings. I know nothing, but I think my favorites were the third one, just that detail of the woman's arms and her sleeves, the miniature portraits (the sign said gouache on ivory? I swear they looked just like photos), and the very very last painting, with the artist working on his own portrait. It's like self-portrait within a self-portrait... we might need to go deeper.

Hover over the photos for more info, etc etc etc, and forgive the telegraphic posts, but I have a million books to read because I've decided I'm into philosophy now. You will of course excuse me. Gotta go figure out the world, one Bataille at a time.


PS - That... may or may not have been a pun.
Saturday, March 09, 2013

The Exile

('O Desterrado', 1872, António Soares dos Reis | Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis - Rua D. Manuel II, Porto)

It was my birthday last week, and I chose to start it with a big breakfast and a book in bed, and end it at dinner with my parents and sister. As far as emotions go, it was a very loaded day, but the afternoon was surprisingly tame. Peaceful and neutral and quiet, just the way I like it, as I walked around a museum with my camera and looked at things as if I actually wanted to see them. I was taken aback by this statue. I'd seen it in books before and it was the main reason I actually chose this place instead of, who knows, maybe the marionette museum. I stood there staring for way too long. Long enough for someone to come check on me. But I was just so... fascinated.

I know exactly zero about art, for the record. Art movements and eras and artists pass me by. I evaluate painting by the highly scientific standard of 'would I hang it on my wall' and sculpture by the rather more pragmatic question 'how hard coult it possibly be to hammer this out of a freaking stone block', rated on a scale from 'I could do that' to 'ancient aliens'.

Well... I guess we do what we can to appreciate what we don't fully understand. Photos of the paintings shall be posted sometime soon. Right now, I really just wanted to share these little details. I can't stop staring. This one statue, I'm telling you, was worth what I paid for the ticket.

Have a nice weekend?
Monday, March 04, 2013

Passing The Torch

The time has come. I have fully destroyed my favorite pair of boots. I bought them... maybe four years ago. I saw them in a magazine, looked once, looked twice, and told everyone in my family that I had to have them. A few days, two stores and a fight later (we couldn't agree on which size fit better), it was done. These boots weren't only beautiful, they were comfortable, too. I took that as my excuse to abuse them. Looking back, I've replaced the zippers at least twice. I've somehow managed to end up with holes on both soles. I've ripped the lining on both heels - and the leather everywhere else, where the foot bends.

They're simply inanimate objects I wear on my feet, I'm aware, but it's sad to cast them aside. It's like I've invested in them, you know. They're very much mine. I've worn them so many times that they fit just right. Every crease is a tell-tale sign of a repeated motion. Every rip is a testament to my unending courage and optimism - I'll wear them again just this once, I promise, and then I'll get them fixed. Right. Liar.

The good news though, is that it's only taken me a bout a year to find a suitable replacement - the nice and shiny pair of the left. They were about half the price of the original ones, so I won't demand too much - just half the life with half the damage.

I'm wearing them right now, and I swear they feel just like torture devices.
Yup. It's going to be a long couple of years.