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Diary #434

I have come to the unpleasant conclusion that the autumnal downshift from the hyperstimulation of summer is neither as quick nor smooth as it once was, which means weeks of weird moods where I mostly feel fine (and not depressed or anxious), but I don’t have a lot of energy and I’m prone to short bursts of sorrow.  Part of this is probably due to the accumulated psychic grunge of decades fouling my cerebral gears, and part of it is certainly stress-related, but the rest is probably just age.  Thanks to good genes, a mostly-nocturnal lifestyle which protects my skin from ultraviolet damage, and a lot of money spent on various beauty treatments, I still look a lot younger than my age (52 a week from tomorrow); however, my nervous system has still been redlining all day, every day since I was at least 9 (and maybe for years before that), which means my brain is probably the equivalent of about 104 or more.  I reckon that’s as good an excuse as any for being moody and cantankerous, but if it isn’t that’s just too bad; I’ve reached the point where I no longer feel the need to apologize for terrifying people who try to waste my time or make unwelcome demands without offering compensation.

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Dennis Hof, owner of half of the brothels in Nevada, died early Tuesday morning, apparently of natural causes; he was 72.  I have never hidden my deep dislike for the man, who is still the only male member of my Hall of Shame; that dislike is inextricably bound up with my deep dislike for the exploitative fascist system which made him both wealthy and infamous (and it’s impossible to say which of those he relished more).  The state of Nevada, as I’ve written before,

…is [no] more whore-friendly than any other American state…unless one considers a poultry factory-farmer to be a “friend” of chickens…[it] allow[s] a small number of politically-connected cronies to run brothel ranches (switching from one kind of livestock to another) out in the desert far from human habitation (so the “sex rays” from diseased harlots don’t contaminate real people)…like a collection of mummified monsters and pickled curiosities in a roadside tourist trap, and to harshly persecute any who dare show themselves in town.

Now, it’s absolutely true that there would be nothing immoral about the Nevada system as long as whores had a free choice whether to work there or not; furthermore, the restrictions of the Nevada system are largely state-imposed and not the fault of Hof or other brothel owners.  I’ve never worked in one of the Nevada brothels myself because I refuse to submit to being treated like a criminal, so I have no firsthand experience in what Hof was like as a boss (and the varying opinions I’ve heard from women who have basically average out to “he was no worse than the others”).  So my revulsion has nothing to do with the brothel system itself or what he was like as an employer, but rather with his opportunistic promotion of “sex trafficking” hysteria (which he privately admitted to me that he knew to be bullshit), the “dirty whore” myth, and the notion that women are too stupid, weak and incompetent to be trusted to manage our own sexual behavior.  I was also disgusted by his deep hypocrisy (claiming to be a libertarian while participating in a crony system, supporting Donald Trump, cuddling up to the vile Joe Arpaio, and revering the word “legal” as though it were a cultic totem) and his relentless and distasteful self-promotion.

That having been said, it’s also true that Hof’s participation in the reality series Cathouse probably served to demystify at least one kind of sex work to hundreds of thousands of people; that his businesses provided jobs to hundreds of sex workers and support staff; and that regardless of my personal opinion of him, he was liked and even loved by many of his employees, business contacts and others, including several people (such as my friend Christina Parreira and 1st amendment powerhouse Marc Randazza) I like and respect very much.  Furthermore, though some of the recent attacks on Nevada brothels were obviously retribution for his political activity, others had nothing to do with him personally and his notoriety and local popularity may have helped fend them off; now that he’s dead the whore-haters may redouble their efforts, and there’s no telling what effect Nevada’s deeply weird licensing laws may have on the fate of many, many people’s livelihoods.

There are people I know who are celebrating his death, and others who are mourning it; personally, I’m glad we won’t have to endure his signal-boosting of prohibitionist lies, but I’m also worried about the future of the women who work in brothels in general and his brothels in particular.  In short, Hof was a complex, often maddening man in life, and his death has left a situation that’s equally complex and maddening.

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Diary #433

Here’s another month whooshing by, and my brain still hasn’t quite recovered from summer yet.  But I managed to break out of my inertia a little, starting a couple of projects I’ve been putting off for a while (such as a new and much-longer-than-usual story which I hope to have ready for your reading pleasure before Halloween).  Grace and Chekhov have been finishing up a number of projects at Sunset (such as re-waterproofing roofs just in time for the rainy season), and on Saturday Grace sent me the materials estimate for the floor-leveling project, which doesn’t look nearly as bad as I had feared.  It would be kinda nice if we could finish at least one aspect of this relocation for dramatically less money than expected; the initial estimate from contractors for the repair was $20,000, but Grace’s estimate is only about $5000-$7000, largely because A) no extra labor cost, and B) no profit margin.  That would be especially great, because by a shitty coincidence the move itself cost me $20,000 more than expected.  And once the floor is fixed, she can get working on the bookshelves I’ve been wanting for the past 16 years.  Ah, well; patience, they say, is a virtue.  I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s certainly a survival skill.

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The Rest of the Story

Those who periodically look at my Amazon wishlist may have wondered why I have a number of power tools on there.  I mean, it should be fairly obvious that they’re for Grace, and that she’s in need of them for the work in bringing the house and other facilities at Sunset up to snuff, not to mention improving them.  But those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while know that Grace and I have lived together since early 1998, and that she did a lot of work building things for me at Avalon, my ranch in Oklahoma.  So you may have wondered why in the world she needs such basic things as a cordless drill, a belt sander and an air-tool kit; I mean, obviously I should’ve bought her all of that years ago, right?  So why didn’t I?  Well, the answer is, I did…and then something happened during the move.  Last August, Diary #374 described it this way:

While I was enjoying the eclipse with Lorelei last Monday, Grace was encountering problems in Oklahoma.  I’d rather not go into the nature of those problems, except to say that they were human-caused, completely unnecessary and painfully expensive.  I don’t mean car-repair expensive, either; I mean cost-of-a-moderate-new-car expensive, and bad enough that poor Grace (who had to deal with it firsthand) was quite depressed all week.  On top of everything else, her departure was delayed from Monday until Friday, and the rest of the moving schedule is now kind of uncertain…It’s a damned good thing I have no more debt, because this move was expensive even before an asshole I won’t name elected to at least triple the cost of it by being entitled, evil scum…

I didn’t want to elaborate at the time because I wanted to leave things open for possible legal action, but since it’s been over a year and it doesn’t look like there’s anything that can be done, I’ve decided it’s time to tell the whole infuriating tale.

When I first bought my land in Oklahoma back in 2002, one of our neighbors was a rancher with quite a bit of land; he is a decent fellow who helped us out more than once, but unfortunately he’s burdened with two ne’er-do-well sons.  When we arrived one of those sons, who was 22 at the time if memory serves, was serving a sentence for methamphetamine distribution; judging by some of the debris we discovered while building our place, he had at some point had a lab there which burned down (the previous owner, whom I had bought the property from, lived in town and rarely visited it).  Naturally, since I’m not a hypocrite, I didn’t judge him for having a criminalized business, and after he was released he got a job in the oilfield out of state and was gone for years.  His brother was a well-known hothead who, during the years we lived in the area, was arrested for assault on numerous occasions, and in fact during the incident I’m about to relate he was preparing to go to prison for several years as part of a plea bargain for several such charges, the most serious of which resulted from his literally ramming another man’s car with his pickup truck because the man had gone on a date with a woman the hothead had dated a few times but was not married or otherwise formally committed to.

Anyhow, a few years ago the rancher (the one with the sons) had expressed an interest in buying part of my property, so that I could use the money to finish my house.  In the autumn of 2016 I started thinking about that again, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had put down roots in Seattle and just couldn’t go back to Oklahoma to stay.  I asked Grace what she thought about the idea of selling the whole property to the neighbor and buying a place in Washington, and without hesitation she answered, “I want to be with you.”  So I called him and asked if he was still interested, and he replied that he would help his son (the former meth dealer) to buy it so he could put cattle on it and thereby make a living without having to rely on jobs (which he apparently had not had a good track record with in the years after prison).  The young man (I reckon about 37 by that point) called me, we agreed on a price pretty quickly, and he agreed to give Grace until October 1st to finish the move.

If things had gone as planned, I wouldn’t be writing this; however, they did not.  The first leg of the move took longer than expected, and the buyer lost his job in the meantime; since the deal had already been completed thanks to a loan from his father, the sale was unaffected.  But as I quickly discovered, he suffers from that species of sociopathy characterized by the conviction that the world owes him a living, and therefore it was somehow my responsibility to complete the move instantly (over six weeks ahead of schedule) so he could move into the house and therefore not have to pay rent at his current place.  I told him that was impossible, and he began badgering both Grace and I; worse still, he started removing things from the property that were not part of the deal and insisting that they were.  Finally, the night before Grace arrived for the second load, some mysterious person supposedly cut the lock off of our gate, drove a truck and trailer up to our shop, smashed the locked door in with sledgehammers and stole most of Grace’s tools…roughly $20,000 worth, which I had bought for her over the whole time we’d been together.  Grace was utterly devastated; building things is for her a profession, a hobby, a means of demonstrating love and her mode of self-expression.  As she said at the time, “I feel like my whole life has been taken away.”  It was obvious who the culprit was; the sheriff told Grace that the new owner of my ranch and two friends of his were suspected of several other very similar robberies over the past few years, but they must’ve had a good fence because nothing could ever be proven and the stolen property could never be found.  Needless to say, the next two trips were very tense; we think he may have even killed a couple of our dogs and I wouldn’t be surprised if the sudden, mysterious death of our llama Colleen might not have been due to some kind of poison he put into her food.  On the very last trip, Chekhov told me he was stalking around with a gun on his hip, obviously an implied threat.

There’s not much left to tell.  The move was finally finished, and I’ve been working on replacing the various tools as Grace needs them.  There were actually a few at Sunset when we bought it, and the thieves had missed some large and expensive things at the back of the shop; one of my gentlemen (who is a talented fabricator himself) very generously replaced nearly all of her hand tools with top-of-the-line sets last Christmas, and Grace found an excellent deal on a new combination welder (MIG, TIG and stick in one unit) at Harbor Freight, which I bought for her earlier this year.  But we still have quite a way to go before most of the lost items are replaced, so I hope y’all will understand if I devote some space on my wishlist to share the generosity of my readers with my dearest and most beloved friend.

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Back in July regular reader (and gift-sender) Robin Aguilar sent me this lovely bodysuit, which I promised to model when it got cooler (and y’all know I always keep my promises); I think it suits me, don’t y’all?  Together with a pair of brown jeggings and knee-high black leather boots, the effect was (judging by the reactions of people I met) pretty striking.  Then on Wednesday of last week, Nattie Roman generously sent me a table sander that Grace asked me to put on the wishlist; if you don’t understand why I’m adding so many tools for her over the past year, you probably want to read this coming Friday’s column.  Last week also saw the release of episode 67 of Thaddeus Russell’s Unregistered podcast, in which he talks to Matisse and me together; it is definitely not to be missed!  And speaking of media, it won’t be much longer before my documentary The War on Whores is ready for release; when that happens, I’ll be asking my fans across the country to help set up screening events, at which I’ll introduce the film and answer questions.  So keep your eyes peeled for that, and remember that if I’m in your city for some other reason you can see me at the same rate as if I were in Seattle, without any higher minimum time for travel.  Doesn’t that make you want to help me set up screenings?  That’s what marketing people call an “incentive”, but given my fondness for a certain animal motif, maybe “temptation” would be a better word.

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Diary #431

Last week was another busy one, though slightly slower than the past few; I’m definitely not complaining, because it gave me a little space to catch back up!  I think my brain is starting to catch back up from the summer; I’ve found myself sleeping more and later lately, which is definitely a good thing.  All of our repairs and improvements at Sunset are coming along fine, and I’ve added some more tools and things that Grace wants to my Amazon wishlist; she’s also been replacing a lot of the stuff lost in the move by finding good deals on Craigslist, which is where I also plan to get our hot tub when the time comes to start on my bathhouse project (probably in the spring).  And thanks to the commitment of a generous gentleman, I should have enough to get the floor fixed and build the bookshelves I want before then!  So all in all, I’ve been in a pretty good mood lately, so much so that I bought these sparkly unicorn cakes when I saw them at the local bakery store, because I am a grown-ass woman and I can eat Little Debbie Sparkly Unicorn Cakes if I want to.

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Diary #430

Once again, another week so busy I barely had time to think, and considering the way my thoughts tend to go that’s really a good thing.  Jae spent most of the week at Sunset (a lot of it fussing over Shiloh) and I spent a lot of it doing paying work, though on Wednesday I took a retired friend to dinner, and on Thursday I was a guest on Tina Dupuy’s Sirius XM show again, then later that evening Lorelei and I enjoyed our first Who night since January (though we really don’t want it to take that long again before the next one!)  On Friday Chekhov came into town and treated me to dinner, then on Saturday we had a housewarming (actually an incall warming) for Koi and Ivy; it’s always nice to get to socialize with a big group of whore friends, and Seattle has a community like no other in that respect.  Finally, on Monday, Matisse and I appeared together on Thaddeus Russell’s Unregistered podcast; I’ll let you know about it as soon as it’s released.  Anyhow, that’s all for now; it was a good week in almost every way, but too many like that and I’d get so far behind on my writing I’d never catch up!

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