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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Leave the Ghost, Take the Pizza

I went to Fluid again last night, where they were having a party featuring soca among other musics. I've loved soca for years, since becoming acquainted with it from the old show "Rhythms on Trade Winds" on WKDU. But this was the first time I'd been to a soca party.

I asked another woman to dance at this party, and this time she did dance with me for a bit.

When I took a break for a snack at the nearby pizza place, I noticed a handful of people down the side street Fluid is on (Kater), just hanging out at the intersection with Orianna. This really seemed anomalous because of the way I'd become acquainted with Orianna, and I had to go down and comment on it to them. They were, in fact, just hanging out and eating pizza themselves. The one who asked me the details of the purported haunt seemed surprised at the story about a massacre. She made some reference to Native American history, as if perhaps she thought she'd have heard the story already if it were true. On the other hand, she didn't seem surprised that I'd heard a cricket there a few days earlier. She said they were like car horns where she came from.

After this experience, there's not much left of the air of mystery and potential excitement the street had for me when I first visited it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Orianna Street Revisited

Coming home from Fluid the other night (the first time I've been to that club), I saw Orianna Street again, and decided to take another walk down it since it was around the right time (2:15-2:30 am) for strange happenings to purportedly happen. Unlike before I was by myself, so there was nothing scientific about this visit; clearly anything I (thought I) saw or heard could be the product of my imagination, informed by what I'd heard about the street. I was just entertaining myself this time.

As I got about halfway down the block I realized this was as far as I'd gone with the guy who'd accompanied me last time -- just a little short of an even smaller cross street, which I realized in retrospect is probably the same one Fluid is on (at Fourth). I decided that this time I'd walk the whole block.

As I approached the cross street I started hearing a cricket, and continued to hear it for a few strides after passing it. I looked around but could see no obvious source for the sound, which I assumed must come from the (SW) corner rather than the street. It being late and I having to work the next day, I didn't investigate further. Afterward, though, I thought the speed with which the chirps' volume rose and fell as I passed the south side of the cross street was so great that it must have come from the street itself, where I hadn't thought to look.

Although a cricket's chirp may seem out of place in the middle of an urban district like this, I see no need to invoke a paranormal explanation. But perhaps for people who are "fantasy-prone" and believe in such things, a seeming anomaly like this might set off their imaginations.

Then again, it may well be just a coincidence. Perhaps the cricket settled there to be close to the electro music. (Could it actually have a similar rhythm?) Or maybe the flashes from the mirror ball reminded it of starry nights in the countryside :-)

On rereading the earlier post, I realize I was a little late for the purported "window" for paranormal activity. Since I'm inclined to go to Fluid again, I can correct that next time, and maybe even incorporate it as a "venue change" into my pickup efforts.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

10,000 Stand Against Hate

Yesterday I was in New York for the march and rally for religious freedom called in response to protests of the permit for an Islamic Cultural Center a couple blocks from the World Trade Center site.

I made a sign the night before. On one side it says, "Magic Baby believers, STOP PICKING ON Magic Rock believers!" On the other, I inform the Used Tea Bags (as I like to call them -- because they're all wet) that we have this thing called the Constitution that guarantees freedom of religion and prohibits an established church. A number of people liked it; near the end of the event, someone took a picture of the first side, calling it the best sign she'd seen all day.

There were a number of other homemade signs, including "Atheists for religious tolerance."

It'd been a few years since the last time I came to an out-of-town demonstration -- since January '07 I think. As I've struggled with finding a way to fulfill my need to express myself politically while maintaining a strong sense of autonomy -- and, especially, avoiding association with anything too reminiscent of my past cultic involvement -- I didn't want to commit ahead of time to riding on a charter bus run by a sectarian group, which often seemed the only affordable way to get to NYC or Washington.

Fortunately, while making plans to get to the cultic studies conference in July, I became aware of how affordable the nonstop Chinatown-Chinatown buses are, and the fact that one need only arrive twenty minutes ahead to be assured of a seat. Round trip from Philly to NYC is only $20, about the same as a ticket to ride on a charter bus, even after figuring in a few extra dollars for the Metro. This knowledge freed me to save the date without having to make any commitments in advance; I just had to see if I could leave enough money in my budget to cover the cost, which I was able to do.

My new orientation meant that I was also trying to pursue the development of my interpersonal skills even at an out-of-town event like this. I made a particular effort to start conversations with attractive women; even though it seemed an outside chance, I entertained the idea that if I really hit it off with someone, I might be invited to stay overnight, and here again my new transportation option gave me the needed flexibility to take advantage of that. With this in mind I also brought a Red Bull shot with me, as I've used previously only in connection with clubbing.

As people were leaving the rally site, I did briefly consider going to the afterparty that had been announced, but I was reluctant to because I had only a few dollars left in my budget and there might not be sufficient free food at said party if I got hungry again. Not that I couldn't have gone over budget -- borrowing against future expenses -- but it seemed ill-justified for the sake of an outside chance. Was this prudence, or avoidance? I don't know, but I intend to have more to spare next time I face a choice like that, so that I won't need to second-guess myself.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Last night I dreamt that for research purposes, I joined Geerts Wilder's party, despite neither being a Danish citizen nor sharing his views. After signing up and being shown the eco-friendly farm he somehow had inside his party's giant building, one of his cows followed me home.