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Posts Tagged ‘anecdote’

Family Curse

Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.  -  Alexander Pope

In January of 2003, soon after I had bought my country property, a spotted dog showed up while we were putting up the shop.  She was in heat, the neighbor’s dog Stampy (yes, he was named for Bart Simpson’s elephant) paid court to her, and she started spending her nights under our house.  At first I referred to her as “Stampy’s lady friend”, which was soon shortened to “Lady” when we decided to let her stay.  When it was time for her to whelp I started shutting her in the shop at night (we set up a wooden frame with blankets for her), and she had eight puppies in the wee small hours of March 10th.  Within a few months, though, we knew something weird was going on; Lady would amble off with the pups into the woods and come back with one fewer than before.  She lost three that way; we’ve never been sure if she was doing it on purpose because she sensed something was wrong with them, or if it was just the way of things, but I wasn’t going to let it continue.

Accordingly, I established the procedure we followed thereafter: Lady and the pups could never be loose at the same time.  When she was out alone she was fine, and when the pups were out without her that was fine too.  But if she got loose at the same time as they did, the whole pack would take off and not be seen until very late at night (or, in later years, even the next day).  When they were all together it was like the pack instinct took over, and their normal obedient ways cast to the winds.  And whenever it happened I would never sleep well until they were home safe.  There was plenty to worry about; this area is full of predators, and while they were more than a match for coyotes there are also cougars, rattlesnakes and other dangerous animals.

On top of all that, there was the epilepsy.  Oreo had it worst; she started having grand mal seizures after her first year, and eventually died from them.  But Stampy, Jr and Caramel also had it in less severe form; Stampy had petit mal seizures from time to time, and though Caramel never had any obvious seizures she would often have episodes where she seemed upset or frightened of something the other dogs didn’t notice, most likely some feeling inside her.  After Oreo died, we were down to just the three, Lady, Stampy Jr and Caramel; one of the others had been given away, and Damsel met with some accident before she turned one and never came home.  By this point, we had the grim joke that Lady was under a curse; four of her pups had met with unknown dooms, one had perished from a chronic illness and the remaining two seemed marked.

But as the years rolled by, my fears abated somewhat; it seemed the remaining three would live out normal lives.  Except for that strange thing about not being able to let them out at the same time, they were friendly, affectionate, obedient dogs; Lady went everywhere with Grace, and was probably the best-known dog in the whole county.  And though Stampy (the largest of the three at 40 kg) was an accomplished coyote-killer, with humans he was amazingly docile.  He and Caramel had been inseparable since birth, and though she often gave him grief over taking up too much space in the doghouse, he was very protective of his little sister.

Then just a year ago, the curse seemed to return with a vengeance.  They were all getting on in years; the vet figured Lady had been about a year old when she had the puppies, and they were now ten.  Like many large dogs, Stampy had become arthritic; we were giving him medicine that seemed to ease his pain, but he had still slowed down considerably.  And though Caramel (who only weighed about 30 kg) had no such symptoms, she rarely wandered far from her brother.  Neither of them hesitated, though, when one day last July a lone coyote wandered  near where Grace was working, in broad daylight; Stampy and Caramel gave chase and Lady got so agitated she managed to break her leash and follow…trailing a long length of leash into the woods and ignoring Grace’s commands to stop (as was typical when the three were loose together).  When Grace told me what had happened my heart sunk; I knew a long leash dragged into thick woods was a death-sentence.  We searched for hours, and then Grace drove around the whole area calling her for days, hoping against hope she would hear her barking and could go to her aid.  It was no use; we never saw her again, and I only hope the coyotes got her quickly because the alternative is too awful to contemplate.

Last winter seemed especially hard on Stampy; even with the medicine he seemed constantly in low-level pain, and began to move more slowly and awkwardly.  Still, he greeted me every morning with wagging tail when I came outside to let them off of the porch for the day.  But on March 21st, just eleven days after his eleventh birthday, I saw him for the last time; the others were back from their morning run long before noon, but Stampy was not with them.  We called his name repeatedly; again, Grace drove around looking for him.  And again, it was no use.  Maybe he attacked another animal he was no longer young and strong enough to defeat; maybe he just went off to die as animals sometimes do.  But as with his mother, it was the uncertainty that was the hardest part.  Death, as the Bard said, will come when it will come; it’s not knowing a friend’s fate that’s unbearable.

After losing her lifelong companion, Caramel just wasn’t the same; she seemed to grow old overnight, and no longer went off the porch much unless she was following one of us.  Grace noticed that she was cleaning her bottom a lot more than she used to, and fussing with it as though it bothered her; of course neither of us thought much about that at the time, but it sprang immediately to mind when Grace called me on the first leg of my tour to tell me that she had stopped eating and seemed to be straining every time she went to poop.  The vet discovered an intestinal blockage and some swelling, but even after enemas and antibiotics her appetite and bowel movements failed to return to normal.  Grace discovered the only thing that would tempt her to eat was pure meat, but even then she wouldn’t take enough to really sustain a dog her size.  By the time I got home on June 28th she was badly emaciated, like a recently-rescued stray; I cried that night, because I knew what was coming.  We took her back to the vet first thing the following Monday, and an examination revealed the underlying problem: cancer of the anal glands, and in a fairly advanced state.  I held her as the vet did what needed to be done, and the last of her doomed line went peacefully to sleep in my arms.

When we lost Lady last summer, something kept me from writing about it; the same thing happened when we lost Stampy in March.  But this time it was different.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that with Caramel at least, I absolutely knew she was dead, whereas with the others there was no real closure.  Or perhaps I realized deep down that they would all follow one another into the Beyond as closely as they had followed one another in life.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I’ve lost three dear friends in much too short a time, and though it’s hard to type this through my tears, I felt their loyalty deserved the only memorial I know how to give them.  Requiescat in pace, pups; the curse at last is done.

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Cathryn and me at the Everleigh Club site 7-19-14Up to this week, the pace of my tour has been relatively sedate, with more downtime than appearances.  But as of Saturday that changed; Chicago will be a whirlwind, and the number of quiet days from here to at least Charleston will be in the minority.  So even though last week in Memphis and Nashville was rather quiet, I wasn’t all that concerned; it gave me time to catch up on some writing so I won’t be caught flatfooted before the end of August.

Since my book is self-published, most large bookstores won’t carry it on their shelves; however, independent stores can do as they like so a few have agreed to stock Ladies of the Night.  Before leaving Memphis last Monday I stopped in at The Booksellers at Laurelwood to sign their copies, and was pleased to hear that one had already sold over the weekend.  If you’re in Memphis, call them to see if they have any left!  That night I had dinner with one of my “Angel” sponsors in Nashville, and this morning I’m having breakfast with another in Chicago.  I also had dinner and visited with activist Cathryn Berarovich in Chicago on Saturday night; the picture is us in a grassy lot where the Everleigh Club, Chicago’s busiest and most elegant brothel, used to stand.  And on Friday night in Indianapolis, I had dinner and a long discussion with a criminologist who is preparing a study of violence against sex workers in criminalized and legalized systems.

My one public event in Nashville was a presentation at Liberty On the Rocks; since the space was rather noisy and the group relatively small we opted for a discussion-group style event rather than a lecture followed by questions.  Though I felt as though the format was a bit more chaotic than I prefer, the attendees seemed pleased with the outcome and one even wrote about it.  There’s a small footnote to that event which emphasizes the reason I’m out here and gives me hope for the future:  when I left, I felt like getting some ice cream so I stopped at a small parlor on the next block which was still open.  As I walked out and was eating my cone on the sidewalk, a young woman (university age) asked which flavor I’d bought, and she and her boyfriend and I struck up a conversation.  When I told them who I was and why I was travelling, they expressed enthusiastic support for the cause, wished me luck and asked for a card to read the blog.  I think their attitude is more common than the prohibitionists want to admit; in twenty years, young people will view repression of sex work in the same way young people now view attempts to suppress gay rights: as a weird, incomprehensible thing people used to do which has no valid place in a civilized society.

Here’s my tour schedule, which is still in flux; check back when I’m getting close to you for details of local appearances.  If your city isn’t on the list, but it’s within about four hours’ drive of another city which is on the list, just send an email asking me to visit.  Your request will have even more impact if you can suggest a specific place I could do a book reading or give a talk, and it’s virtually assured if you can actually make the arrangements yourself (in other words if it’s your store, club or whatever).

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANew Orleans will always have a special place in my heart, but I have a new second-favorite city:  St. Louis, Missouri.  It’s not so much the city itself, though what I saw reminded me very much of the New Orleans area in a number of ways, including layout and architecture; no, what really attracted me was the character of the people I met.  Shortly into my tour, sex blogger Kendra Holliday wrote me and not only offered to help me set up gigs in St. Louis, but also invited me to stay in her house!  I accepted both offers, and had a grand time; she was a gracious hostess with a lovely home I was very comfortable in, and all the people she introduced me to (members of the group Sex Positive St. Louis) were warm, welcoming and a helluva lot of fun to be with.  They treated me to dinner Wednesday night, then on Thursday I had a book reading at Shameless Grounds, a sex-positive cafe (where I was introduced to a delicious local dessert called gooey butter cake).  After that, SEX+STL founding member David Wraith took me to yet another coffee shop, where we talked for much too long (until they kicked us out, in fact).  As I’ve said before, the best thing about this tour has been meeting all the different people, and though I’ve enjoyed them all I really felt a special chemistry with my new friends in St. Louis.  I honestly hated to leave and wished I had scheduled at least one more day there, but I’ll tell you this:  I definitely will be back!

In contrast, Memphis was very quiet (which of course made me wish even more that I had stayed in St. Louis!)  But I got a lot done on Saturday, arranging for my hotel rooms all the way through Chicago and getting an excellent deal on my room there.  I don’t mind telling you I was rather worried about that one; I was concerned that it would be budget-bustingly expensive, but it actually turned out to be much cheaper than Nashville (and I didn’t have to stay in a dive, either).  I’m working diligently to stay inside budget; St. Louis helped that a great deal (no hotel bill and only one self-paid meal!) and the savings on Chicago lodging will as well.  But I’m still over $2500 away from my funding goal, so if you can afford it and haven’t yet, please consider donating to my GoFundMe!  And if you have ideas for gigs in Boston, New York City or the South, please let me know because I’m starting to concentrate on scheduling those now.

Here’s my tour schedule, which is still in flux; check back when I’m getting close to you for details of local appearances.  If your city isn’t on the list, but it’s within about four hours’ drive of another city which is on the list, just send an email asking me to visit.  Your request will have even more impact if you can suggest a specific place I could do a book reading or give a talk, and it’s virtually assured if you can actually make the arrangements yourself (in other words if it’s your store, club or whatever).

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not a crimeI spent the last week at home, but not remotely idle; beside trying to get ahead on my work, catching up on overdue bills, working on future tour appearances and sadly having to say goodbye to an old friend (details on the 24th; I don’t want to address it here), I also participated in a Twitter campaign devised by Mistress Matisse.  If you use Twitter, you probably know about it; even if you don’t you may have seen it on the Twitter feed in the right-hand column here.  Basically, Matisse asked sex workers to write short messages based around the established hashtag #rightsnotrescue in black sharpie on white T-shirts, then tweet the pictures.wet crime  When we started I was the only one she was sure would do it with her, but within the hour (we started at noon PDT on Monday June 30th) there were plenty of others, most of which put my amateurish efforts (pictured here) to shame.  If you missed it, take a look back at my timeline and search that tag; some of them were really splendid  (especially IMHO those by Cathryn Berarovitch).  rights not rescueAnyhow, we finished Sunday and so now I have these shirts; if you contribute to my GoFundMe and would like one of them instead of a book  (or in addition to if you contribute $250 or more) just let me know in the note with your contribution!  Since there are only four it has to be first-come, first-served to be fair.

RNR 7-3-14Another thing I accomplished this week (thanks to all those who have helped!) was to line up a long-term car rental for the remaining two months of my tour; research, perseverance, stubbornness and pure pushiness combined to secure one for just over $1200 total, more than $450 less than what Priceline and Travelocity both assured me was the absolute lowest price (and less than 10x the cost of the bus ride from Hell).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  When one considers that a car will give me a wider choice of hotel rooms, the rental may actually pay for itself!  Anyhow, as you read this I’m in Kansas City to privately meet with some activists, and moving on to St. Louis tomorrow.  Check back next week for notes on my adventures in St. Louis and Memphis!

Here’s my tour schedule, which is still in flux; check back when I’m getting close to you for details of local appearances.  If your city isn’t on the list, but it’s within about four hours’ drive of another city which is on the list, just send an email asking me to visit.  Your request will have even more impact if you can suggest a specific place I could do a book reading or give a talk, and it’s virtually assured if you can actually make the arrangements yourself (in other words if it’s your store, club or whatever).

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I Scream, You Scream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.  -  Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Robert King

boys making ice cream, 1940Here in North America, summer has started and the weather is starting to get hot; one of the nicest ways to beat the heat is with a dish of homemade ice cream.  You may think it’s hard to make, but you’d be very wrong; modern electric ice cream freezers are quite inexpensive, and most of them use table salt now instead of rock salt.  The freezer can sit in the sink while running to catch any spill, and the canister can be placed in the freezer to harden the ice cream.  Nor do the recipes have to be difficult; while custard-style ice creams (like French vanilla) require cooking, simple fruit- or syrup based ice creams or sherbets do not, and are both simple and delicious.  Here are three recipes I always use; note that these are for a two-quart freezer, so if yours is larger or smaller just adjust everything in proportion.  It won’t look like enough when you pour it into the canister, but it expands considerably during the freezing process.

Syrup-based ice cream

2 cups half-and-half
2 cups whipping cream
¾ cup syrup
¼ cup sugar

Pour all ingredients into container and process as directed by your freezer’s instructions.  Yes, it really is that easy, and the results are delicious.  You can use any kind of syrup, thick or thin; I like to use those Italian syrups that go in sodas or coffee.  Note that if you use a syrup stored at room temperature, the freezing time may increase somewhat.  Also note that this recipe is fully compatible with the fruit-based one, so you can make, say, chocolate banana or cherry vanilla by simply mixing a half-batch of syrup-based with a half-batch of fruit based; the machine will do the rest.

Fruit-based ice cream

2 cups chopped or pureed fruit, as you prefer
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup sugar (if fruit is already sweetened, reduce to ¼ cup)

I prefer to use pureed fruit because it gives a more even consistency and flavor.  Note that if you use frozen or near-frozen fruit, the freezing time may be shortened somewhat.  See above for comments about combined flavors.

Sherbet

2 cups fruit juice
3 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar

You can use any drinkable-concentration fruit juice; if it’s too concentrated to be a pleasant drink (lemon juice, for example) you’ll need to dilute and/or sweeten it to beverage strength before using it or your milk will curdle and the sherbet will be much too sour.  Of the three recipes, I have tested this one the least; it works perfectly with orange juice, though.  The first two recipes I’ve made many, many times and the only time the results were less than perfect was the time I used insufficiently-pureed frozen bananas, resulting in more banana chunks than I personally care for.

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Ramada DenverI wasn’t looking forward to the long downtime I had in Denver; after all, every day spent in a hotel without doing some kind of appearance is in my mind a waste of precious funds.  However, it was good to have a day to recover from my travel ordeal (see last week’s entry), and I used the weekend to get ahead on blogging, send out a lot of emails and make phone calls for future tour appearances, give a phone  interview to a writer in the UK, and otherwise stay productively occupied.  I also added up my costs and made a decision:  since I had no plans for Dallas, Oklahoma City or Kansas City, I decided to cut out the former two and reduce the latter to one day; my reasoning was that I can get to any of them from my home in less than a day’s drive, so I can always visit them later when I have concrete plans scheduled there.  The sacrifice brought me back within budget, but I still have two months to go; if you haven’t yet donated to my GoFundMe, please consider doing so!  I’d like to reach the 2/3 mark by the time I leave for the eastern leg on Monday, and I still need $780 to reach that goal.

When I got up last Tuesday morning, I was still uncertain how I was going to get to Wichita; when last week’s tour diary posted I still believed I was going to take a bus.  But the Greyhound customer service was useless; I couldn’t buy the ticket I wanted online, and when all the fees were added it looked like I was going to be paying $165 for the privilege of being crammed into an awful bus for ten hours, with no guarantee my books would be with me the whole way.  Add to that a twenty-something dollar cab ride in Wichita and a maybe-fiftyish cab ride to get to my presentation in Denver (my hotel was pretty far from downtown) and I was looking at about $240 worth of transportation costs in the next 24 hours.  But then at breakfast, Aphrodite smiled upon me; I struck up a conversation with another guest (who happened to be an anarchist and a mycologist), and in the process realized that the multi-day one-way car rental I had rejected as prohibitively expensive might not be if I booked it for only one day.  My new friend offered me a ride to the airport if I decided to do that, and I was elated to discover the cost was only $237.  That took care of getting me to my presentation and to Wichita, for only a tank and a half of gas more than I’d have spent letting others drive me.

As you can probably imagine, I was in a much better frame of mind for my presentation at Liberty On the Rocks than I would’ve been had the prospect of a midnight bus ride been looming in my mind.  There were about 40 people gathered to hear me speak (among them readers Leonard Fahrni and Free Girard), and the crowd was enthusiastic and asked excellent questions (the presentation was videorecorded, so it may be available to watch later).  In Wichita, the group was (understandably) smaller, but I enjoyed the experience just as much because we opted for an informal discussion rather than a presentation followed by a Q & A session.  That’s one of the really wonderful things about this tour: not only am I getting to meet readers and educate people about sex worker rights, I’m getting to do it in a number of different ways.  Some places want a book reading; some want a talk; some opt for a discussion, and others interview me.  Some people might prefer to be able to give the same prepared speech at each venue, but that would bore me; this organic, flexible approach really suits me best and, I think, allows me to shine more than a rigid program would.

Here’s my tour schedule, which is still in flux; check back when I’m getting close to you for details of local appearances.  If your city isn’t on the list, but it’s within about four hours’ drive of another city which is on the list, just send an email asking me to visit.  Your request will have even more impact if you can suggest a specific place I could do a book reading or give a talk, and it’s virtually assured if you can actually make the arrangements yourself (in other words if it’s your store, club or whatever).

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McNeillFlyerLast Tuesday I mentioned that I would be speaking at UNLV, and that on the following day I’d be meeting back up with my traveling companion.  But I omitted two words from the latter phrase: “in Denver”.  And thereby hangs a tale of woe.  My presentation went just fine, and had my bus trip gone just as well this would’ve been a very short column; alas, that was not to be.  I was rather proud of myself for efficiently compacting my luggage and for not getting angry when it was announced that the bus had been ridiculously overbooked, which meant I had to wait thirteen hours for the next one.  I was also quite pleased when the hotel clerk cheerfully let me back into my room even though I had technically checked out, and rather enjoyed the large diner breakfast I decided to have so I wouldn’t need to eat dinner en route; the fact that I would not need to book a hotel in Denver Wednesday night also appealed to my sense of thrift.  And that concludes the list of good things I can say about the journey.

The bus left the depot 45 minutes late and was absolutely packed solid, and it’s a good thing I’m used to being in close quarters with strange men because my seatmate was built like a professional wrestler and overlapped my seat by a noticeable amount.  The promised on-bus wi-fi turned out to be a lie; my computer connected to the bus, but the bus never connected to the internet for more than a few painfully-slow and highly intermittent teases.  And there was simply no way to actually sleep in that seat, no matter how I turned my head, torso and legs (though I did fitfully doze for a merciful hour here and there throughout the night).  I would’ve still considered it merely a bad trip rather than a horrible one, however, had the driver not switched the interior lights on during the approach to Grand Junction, then proceeded to execute a series of tight turns and unexpected stop-starts while I couldn’t see where we were going through the now-reflective windows.  It’s a good thing my last meal had been concluded over twelve hours earlier, or the resulting mess would’ve been a lot nastier.

That was only the beginning.  Near Vail, the highway began to twist and turn in a way no other interstate highway in the country manages to do, and needless to say I got sicker and sicker; at some point the seat came loose from its catches and began to roll forward with every deceleration and backward with every acceleration.  By the time we arrived in Denver I felt like a torture victim and probably looked like a frightened, bedraggled kitten (except not as cute).  Fortunately, reader Leonard Fahrni had volunteered to fetch me from the depot despite the early hour; had I been required to drag my own luggage to a cab stand, endure a back-seat ride to an internet cafe, then book a hotel and endure another ride to get there, I honestly don’t know if I could’ve done it.  But Leonard carried my things, drove gently to his house, waited patiently while I found a hotel with his internet and then drove me there and brought everything in again.  Who says chivalry is dead?

After that nightmare, my weekend in Denver was so anticlimactic it isn’t worth mentioning.  Tonight I’m speaking at the founding chapter of Liberty on the Rocks, then tomorrow I’m off to Wichita, Kansas on another bus – a much shorter trip, in the daytime, over nice flat country.  And I’ve already planned a long-term rental car deal for July and August so there will be no more bus trips from Hell. The Road to Hell

Here’s my tour schedule, which is still in flux; check back when I’m getting close to you for details of local appearances.  If your city isn’t on the list, but it’s within about four hours’ drive of another city which is on the list, just send an email asking me to visit.  Your request will have even more impact if you can suggest a specific place I could do a book reading or give a talk, and it’s virtually assured if you can actually make the arrangements yourself (in other words if it’s your store, club or whatever).

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Summer Solstice 2014

A something in a summer’s noon –
A depth — an Azure — a perfume –
Transcending ecstasy.
  -  Emily Dickinson

Blessed LithaYou may have noticed that this essay posted fifty minutes late today; that was fully intentional, because I couldn’t resist the opportunity to have the moment of posting coincide with the moment the apparent path of the sun reached its northernmost point at 10:51 UTC (5:51 AM where I live).  I say “where I live” rather than “where I am” because as you already know I’m not at home right now, and the moment of solstice occurred well before sunrise here in Denver.  Those of you who have followed this blog for a long time know that I’m not really upset about missing the summer’s heat at home; though it’s not as sweltering there as it is in New Orleans it’s bad enough (though as my body ages I find it easier to endure the heat and harder to endure the cold).  And though I won’t be home to pick many blackberries myself, I hope to get at least a few while I’m home for Independence Day.  Then it’s off again to the eastern half of the country, and by the time I’m home again summer will be dying and my beloved autumn will be on the way.  I hope to be able to enjoy it the better for having had (I hope and pray) a successful book tour, and if you’d like to help that to happen please donate to my fundraising campaign on GoFundMe.  I wish each and every one of you equal success in whatever summer projects you undertake.

Blessed Be!

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Maggie, Michael & ChristinaIf you meet me in the next few months and notice that my left arm is darker than my right, that’s what comes of driving due north in Arizona for six hours in June.  Actually, I did two long drives through the desert last week; on Tuesday I traveled from San Diego to Tucson, then on Thursday from Tucson to Las Vegas.  My traveling companion won’t rejoin me until tomorrow, so I was in a rented car which, alas, had no usb port for my thumb drive full of music; I was therefore stuck listening to the radio.  And in long stretches of rural Arizona and Southeast California that essentially means a choice between preaching, Mexican stations or static.  Still, I made it through and had a lovely time at the home of Cris Sardina, the head of the Desiree Alliance; the night I arrived six of us got together to have dinner, eat cake and swap war stories.  The next day I worked on my blog, washed clothes and did some more visiting, and then on Thursday arrived at the home of Christina Parreira and her husband Michael Whiteacre, who had invited me to stay at their place for a few days.  I was really very fortunate to have these invitations; not only did it enable me to save money on hotels for almost a week, it also afforded me the opportunity to eat home cooking and be out of the impersonal hotel environment for a while.  I’m definitely hoping to get a few more invitations like these in the next few months, for the sake of both my budget and my sanity!

On Friday morning, I was interviewed on Sex Nerd Radio, then later Christina had to go in to the brothel where she works; we arrived after dark and since it was quiet, she and two of the other ladies gave me a tour of the place.  If they had not told me it was converted from a group of trailers, I would never have known (though the sprawling arrangement might’ve given me a clue).  The workers decorate their own rooms, and the ones I saw were quite lovely; besides the public areas one would expect (parlor, bar, pool room, etc) there were also private areas customers don’t go, such as the kitchen and laundry room.  We then sat out on the patio chatting for a while before Michael and I returned to the city; one aspect of this tour I’m really enjoying is that I’m getting plenty of opportunities to talk to other sex workers in these informal settings, and I certainly hope those I’m talking to enjoy it just as much!

Today I’ll be giving a talk at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, then it’s off to Denver tomorrow; we decided to bypass Albuquerque because there was nothing going on there, but I may be doing several things in eastern Colorado so keep watching the tour schedule!

Here’s my tour schedule, which is still in flux; check back when I’m getting close to you for details of local appearances.  If your city isn’t on the list, but it’s within about four hours’ drive of another city which is on the list, just send an email asking me to visit.  Your request will have even more impact if you can suggest a specific place I could do a book reading or give a talk, and it’s virtually assured if you can actually make the arrangements yourself (in other words if it’s your store, club or whatever).

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While you were reading last week’s diary entry, we were driving down from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  The effects of the prolonged drought are strikingly horrific; what was green and lush the last time I drove that way is now a barren waste of parched brown grass, and farmers are planting only a fraction of their arable land because there wouldn’t be enough water to irrigate all the crops if they planted all they could.

Of course, Los Angeles looked like Los Angeles always looks; our hotel was near the airport, so getting downtown for my talk at Liberty On the Rocks was not difficult.  The turnout was good, and the audience very enthusiastic; it was a mix of LOTR members and readers, and the questions were all good ones.  Then on Friday morning I had my makeup done professionally (for the first time in my life!) in preparation for my interview on Reason TV.  My interviewer was Dr. Thaddeus Russell, whom regular readers may recognize as the author of A Renegade History of the United States; he first expressed an interest in interviewing me last November, but since I don’t exactly get to LA that often it took a while to set up.  It should be edited and posted sometime in the next few weeks, and when it is I’ll embed it in that week’s TW3 column.

My friend went off on a side trip Friday morning (we’re going to meet up again in Las Vegas this weekend), so on Saturday I rented a car and drove down to San Diego.  I didn’t have any public gigs there, but I was interviewed for the Edge of Chaos podcast and spent the afternoon and evening with my husband, who’s been working in the area for some time now.  Today I’m driving over to Tucson to meet with some sex worker activists there, then on Thursday I’m headed to Las Vegas, where…well, you’ll see next week!

One of the attendees at my LOTR appearance gave me a primer in how to accept payments and donations via bitcoin, so as soon as my application for the processing company is approved you should see a new way to donate appear below the subscription box.  And that’s important because, frankly, my expenses have been higher and revenues lower than I had originally hoped, and it looks as though I’ll be doing a lot more sex worker rights activities than book activities.  So, I’ve set up a GoFundMe page, which has already attracted almost 20% of my goal since I activated it Friday night; if you can contribute anything please do!  Some of you have already been extremely generous even before I set up this page, and I can’t possibly express how grateful I am for each and every one of you.

Here’s my tour schedule, which is still in flux; check back when I’m getting close to you for details of local appearances.  If your city isn’t on the list, but it’s within about four hours’ drive of another city which is on the list, just send an email asking me to visit.  Your request will have even more impact if you can suggest a specific place I could do a book reading or give a talk, and it’s virtually assured if you can actually make the arrangements yourself (in other words if it’s your store, club or whatever).

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