Bubbas’ Nightmare

On an odyssey towards a moral life and the perfect microbrew

What do you smell like?

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 17 July 2007

Smell is a very underrated sense.

bpal_intro.pngI was turned onto Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs by Nurse Ratched about a year ago, and I’ve become one of their biggest fans. Among other products, BPAL produces some of the most subtle, sensual perfume oil blends made on this naughty globe. As mentioned in her blog post, the perfumer Beth Moriarty is one of the great Artists about these days.

My favorite BPAL scents? (Personal comments are mine; as with all perfume oils, YMMV with body chemistry, gender, skin pH, and other factors)

Count Dracula (black patchouli, naroli, tonka, cinnamon, bitter clove, leather, black musk, coffin wood, and fiery ginger)
Sexy as all get-out. On me the clove and ginger notes are paramount, but the leather peeks through and the naroli is still whispering hours later.

Smut (three swarthy smutty musks sweetened with sugar and woozy with notes of booze)
Sweet! Root beer-y on me to start, but the musks stick their sensual heads through. After it dries on my skin, it smells, well, smutty.

Shub-Niggurath (the lust incense of a corrupted Astarte. A blend of ritual herbs and dark resins, shot through with three gingers and aphrodisiacal herbs)
The gingers say HELLO!!!! when I wear this, but the herbs murmur their come-hitherance insistently.

Sea of Glass (a scent of inimitable purity, crystalline grace, and limitless light)
Unusual scent, with strong ozone notes. Very calming and centering for me.

No animal products of any kind are used, except for honey. All musks, civet, and ambergris are approximated through plant equivalents. All scents come in 5ml apothecary bottles, and most can be ordered in small “imp’s ears” samplers for exploring. You can find scads of BPAL scents for auction on eBay by looking for “BPAL”. The BPAL website is full of great black-and-white Beardsley illustrations. It’s just all good.

Go buy something from these folks.

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Once upon a time…

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 16 July 2007

…there was a boy.

The boy was a very trusting person. He gave unreserved trust to his mom and his dad, who did a decent job of raising him.

The boy belonged to a family that moved a lot. His dad would come home one day and say, “Well, we’re moving next week.” So the boy and his family would move.

When the boy was in a new town he would try to make new friends, as boys often do. He would make a few friends, and he would go to school, and do the other things that boys do.

And then one day, his dad would come home and say, “Well, we’re moving again.” And the boy would have to say farewell to his new friends, and then he would move. And the cycle would repeat.

This happened again, and again. And again.

As the boy became a teenager, he began to not trust his mom and his dad completely. His dad was a strict disciplinarian who was not home much. The boy and the dad had very little in common, and did nothing together, unlike many boys and dads. The mom was a decent mom, but she was manipulative, and the boy saw this as he started to grow up. The boy quit believing everything the mom said, because some of it was not entirely true.

When the boy started to grow up, he moved again. But this time he moved to college. And he made new friends yet again, but not many. Inside he knew there was no one he could really trust, because he knew he’d move again, someday, and he’d lose them.

And then he fell in love. He loved the girl, who said she loved him as well. The boy was so happy, and as was his nature he embraced that love unreservedly and completely. He felt that, maybe, maybe, here was a friend that would never leave him. Here was a friend that he could completely trust. Here was a sexual partner that was discovering the wonders of physical love right along with the boy, and it was glorious.

For nine months he was in ecstasy. And then the girl left him for another boy.

The boy did not give unreserved trust to the next person he loved. Or the next one, or the next. He has never given it since.

He wants to trust someone, very very badly. He hopes he hasn’t completely lost that ability.

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A sad lack

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 2 July 2007

We need a better language of emotions.

I went to see Evening last night at one of the local independent theaters. Starring Vanessa Redgrave and Claire Danes, it’s the story of a dying woman and her daughters who attend her last days. Danes plays Redgrave’s younger self, and we watch half-century-old pivotal events that the dying Redgrave sees in her mind.

I wouldn’t say that this was your standard “chick flick” (hate that phrase–it’s confining and trite)–the acting is too good, and Danes and Redgrave are far too hypnotic on screen, and it’s nice to see a movie that puts a focus upon older women–a rarity in Hollywood.

Afterward I got to thinking about how I felt about the movie and its details, and in particular how it made me feel. (I’m a tear-leaker.)
Our language lacks sufficient vocabulary to describe emotional nuances. For instance, we have no good terms to differentiate “happy” tears versus “sad” tears, or the nuances in between. It’s difficult to describe to others how to explain exactly how one feels about combinations of emotion (aroused and frightened, or happy and sad, scared and happy, or resigned, happy, and sad all at once, which happens in Evening a good deal).

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Campaign finance reform–the answer!

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 28 June 2007

I’ve got it.campaignfinance1.gif

In this day when U.S. presidential candidates start raising obscene amounts of money to blow on campaigning for the most bought sought after political office in the world, and the bourgeoise electorate becomes increasing disenfranchised and cynical (within a political system that cannot survive mass cynicism long-term), the obvious answer to this issue is:

Spend nothing.

Do not allow the candidates to spend one thin dime on campaigning. None. Nada. Zip. Do not allow their friends/associates/co-conspirators to spend anything on a campaign. No campaign staff salaries. No rent for local campaign offices. Require candidates to publicly repudiate anyone’s attempt to spend money on their campaign.

But, I hear you cry, how then does a candidate get themselves known to the electorate? Anyone who cannot make themselves and their views known to the world via freely-available electronic media (including radio and television) isn’t trying.

But, I hear from the peanut gallery, what will become of the American political landscape when major political parties can’t spend money like it’s going out of style? Nothing but good as far as I can see.

How do we help those candidates whose messages we feel are worthy? Volunteer all your little heart desires. If a candidate can’t get 100,000 volunteers, with no thought of pay, to help get the message out, how worthy could the candidate be?

There. Done.

Next up in American political reform: make all attempts at Congressional lobbying a felony.

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You can take the boy out of the Patriarchy…

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 24 June 2007

…but it’s harder to get the Patriarchy out of the boy.

I was online briefly this morning with a friend in NC, and she commented that she was knee deep in dirty laundry and needed to get to it. I said, “I don’t have that much myself. I’m doing laundry for one, and you’re doing for you, kids, and [her] dad” (who’s visiting).

Her response was, “Hell, no! The kids and dad do their own.”

Oops. I made the assumption (since she’s a single mom) that she did the laundry for everyone.

You spend gargantuan loads of effort to remove the Patriarchal shades from your eyes, and you *still* trip yourself up periodically.

Pass me the scourge.

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Michael Moore: Act V

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 21 June 2007

I went to see the new Michael Moore movie last night.

…and I say again: holy shit.

Very minor spoilers here. Little bitty ones. Promise.

mmoore.pngSicko takes on the health industry in America, much as Fahrenheit 9/11 took on Prince George the Lesser’s policies in the Middle East. Unlike F911’s pandering toward the WTC disaster, however, Sicko sticks much closer to fact-gathering and much less toward political speculations and rehashing of the 9/11 images and thoughts.

The synopsis of this film: America’s health care system is badly broken. The insurance companies are to blame.

Because the real target of this movie is the health insurance industry, we are shown time and again that it is by the whims of that industry that people do or do not get health coverage, and sometimes die as a result.
Interesting aspects of the movie:

1. America is 37th in the world in infant mortality-just ahead of Slovenia.

2. Some great quotes: “If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people”, and “In this country (France) the government is afraid of the people, which is how it should be”.

3. I used to think Moore was didn’t like America much. Now I’m not so sure.

4. I used to think that capitalism, properly applied, was the economic cure-all for all the world’s ills. Now I’m not so sure. When you reveal facts, and let those facts speak for themselves, it’s difficult to argue with them.

Moore also spent time busting myths about health care in other countries. The stories that Americans are told about how slow and unresponsive Canadian health care is (lie!), how Britain’s National Health Service dispensed bottom-of-the-barrel medical care (fib!), and how Cuba, one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere, has third-world-quality public services (lie again!). (And his entire Guantanamo Bay bit is priceless. See the movie for that if nothing else.)

This is the third movie review I’ve done in the last week or so, and just like the others, I think you should go see this film when it is released.

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Eight odd things

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 19 June 2007

1. I have difficulty enjoying sex with anyone I don’t like and admire.

2. I’m the only over-50 I know who enjoys listening to Nine Inch Nails.

3. My dating profiles frequently match bisexual women who live on the Pacific Coast.

4. I’m regularly doing an hour of cardio workouts and 30 minutes of strength training six days a week, but I’m gaining weight.

5. Every time I approach a left-brained problem (computer won’t boot, for instance) I habitually look at possible solutions with the right brain.

6. I want to direct a production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters in the original Russian. (I don’t speak Russian.)

7. I bat right-handed, but pitch and field left-handed.

8. Even though I myself am, I have a hard time realizing that other people are sapiosexual.

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Movies in motion

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 18 June 2007

On a movie roll here…

I went with Daughter-Unit to see an advanced screening of the new Pixar film Ratatouille.ratatouille1.png (The previous post about La Vie en Rose was the result of another advanced screening.) It was the best time I’ve had at a G-rated movie in a long time. (The Incredibles was PG.) There were the usual high-quality Pixar effects, but what really makes a quality (but no longer common) Disney movie is the writing, which manages to entertain both children and adults, often in the same breath. Smarmy moral lessons were there as well, but they were not overbearing.

The point I want to make here is that I’m always looking for novelty and fresh ideas in my entertainment. Pixar often delivers (although I couldn’t get warm about Finding Nemo), as do a few other filmmakers. One of my favorite examples of novelty writ large is the Matrix trilogy.

The mythology of the Matrix aside, there was some great ideas (rehashed yes, but skillfully done). And within The Matrix Reloaded was something that I wish other artists would take to heart: a new type of physically poetic movement.

This is neither your mother’s ballet nor your sister’s favorite modern dance company work. But there is an artistic freshness to it. It elevates the heartrate, stirs the senses and emotions. Yes, it’s choreographed to a fare-thee-well. Yes, it’s contrived and peacockishly self-aware. So is a well-executed pas de deux from Swan Lake. And yes, it’s violent. So is The Rite of Spring. To draw an odd parallel, the movie resembles classic westerns and old (pre-50s) Tom and Jerry cartoons–well-executed portrayals of violence with a positive moral lesson.

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Apologies to would-be commenters

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 16 June 2007

I couldn’t figure out why my comment count has dropped to near zero. Then I realized that somehow the option to force would-be commenters to log onto WordPress somehow got turned on. That sorta crap irritates the fire out of me when I run across it, so I fixed it. I apologize to Needscowbell and any others who ran across this.

Right. Move along now. Enjoy this highly-commercialized weekend celebrating the person that most personally drags the Patriarchy into your life–dear old Dad.

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“Non je ne regrette rien”

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 15 June 2007

I went to see the new Edith Piaf bio pic La Vie en Rose last night.

Holy shit.piaf.jpg

I’m not usually one for biographic movies; they are often slavish to strict chronology and fact disclosure, and don’t discuss enough about the person portrayed. Olivier Dahan did not make that mistake in his direction: Piaf (French for “sparrow”) flits in and out of time streams much like her namesake flits in a birdbath, and the net effects are timeless, heart-breaking portrayals that Piaf’s fans will recognize instantly. Marion Cotillard’s dead-on portrayal (right down to Piaf’s bad teeth and child-like worship of those she loved) leaves you panting in anticipation of more. (They glossed over the affair between Piaf and Marlene Dietrich, but included just enough to tantalize.) I do wish the movie had lingered more upon her triumphs and less on her downfalls, but that sort of treatment rarely moves ticket sales. C’est la vie.

What I was struck by most, however, were the reactions from some of the moviegoers as they were leaving the theatre. I heard more than one man (typical!) say, “Boy, she was an ugly chick!” Little do you know, sirs. Edith Piaf was heart-achingly beautiful.

See this movie.

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Off to celebrate Father’s Day

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 14 June 2007

I’ll be out of pocket while doing so, for a multiplicity of reasons.

Ah, Father’s Day. The commercialized response to Mother’s Day, which is in turn a commercialized response to what was originally (at least in the United States) a call for women to protest war.

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“I promise to take thee to wife…”

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 13 June 2007

 I just lost a good, if not long-term, blog commenter.

She and I got into an email discussion about some of what I’ve posted, and we started down the path of why I’m going down the road of laying down my wedding vows and getting a divorce.

She then stated that she wanted no more discussions of any kind with me. Her take on my situation was that no one worthy of attention (i.e., our email discussions and–I’m going to assume–her blog comments) would ever abandon their vows. Ever.

“I COULD NEVER TRUST a man who would walk out on his vows. No matter what.”

(Emphasis hers. The emailer will have to forgive me for not attributing her quote. I suspect she wouldn’t appreciate it much.)

To which my only comment is from the email I had sent to her previously:

“My wedding vows meant the entire world to me. You have no idea how hard it was to lay them down for good. Yes, they only mattered until I changed my mind, but I believe I was justified after almost 20 years of misery and abuse. I will not sacrifice what is left of my life for someone like that. I just won’t.”

(Emphasis added.) This is something that the spouse doesn’t understand. She maintains that I too was no barrel of fun. She could be right; I’m not qualified to judge my own behavior objectively. All I know is that she wants to maintain the marriage, and I do not.

I feel the commenter’s moral compass is pointed in exactly the right direction. However, one has to be remember that in all moral dilemmas there is a proper context to consider. From James Rowland’s excellent article:

“A virtue, or morality in general, can’t be judged outside of the context of a person’s life….People talk about “acting morally” when they say that a person followed the virtues, not caring what results came of the actions. People talk about “being virtuous” without reference to the outcome or the values being pursued. Following the rules is considered good enough.”

Postscript: I no sooner got this written and posted when this showed up on the radar screen.

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Did something unusual last night

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 12 June 2007

I went in for an echo-cardiogram yesterday. The doctor was seeing a “blip” on the regular EKG, so she sent me in for the ultrasound version of it. I’ll get results of it in the next few days.

However, the upshot of this was that, when attaching electrodes, Nurse shaved patches of my chest hair. When I got home I got to look at her handiwork, and I looked like I had come down with mange–big ugly bald spots dotted across my chest and torso.

So I thought, “Well, pluck the duck. Why not?” I got the electric clippers and the razor and shaved my entire chest and belly.

It’s very different. It feels very…naked. Cold. Not scratchy so far. I won’t keep it like this. (I’m too hirsuit elsewhere on my body, and I’m not shaving my entire body on a regular basis.) This does reveal, however, just how heavy my body is and how much work remains to get back into decent shape.

To sum up: humbling.

Postscript: I can now appreciate why women don’t wear cotton-style dress shirts without a bra. Sorta.

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The world as it should be

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 10 June 2007

We all yearn for things we do not have.

I’ve been listening to soundtracks today, and I just finished listening to Alan Silvestri’s work for Contact. For those of you who don’t know it, it is the story of Dr. Ellie Arroway, who intercepts the first communications from beyond our solar system. I won’t spoil the plot (it’s worth seeing the movie, which for once is much better and more dramatic than Carl Sagan’s novel) as much as I would like to–it’s full of so many life-affirming facts and speculations that I could scarcely catalog them all.

The point of bringing this up is that speculative fiction (or s-f, which covers science-fiction, fantasy, and other such forms) is one of the lynch-pins of true romantic art: it portrays what could or ought to be, rather than what is.

The art world goes through spasms every so often when naturalism becomes the be-all goal–to portray what really is–as opposed to romanticsm, which portrays what could be. Nothing is deadlier to the higher purposes of art than to spend its energy portraying the real world; that is what a craft like photography is for. Art is for teaching the audience what could be true.

The entire purpose of life for those truly human among us is to bring about a better world, a world that we want to be real. Social justice, an end to poverty and suffering and illness and cruelty–all these are desirable goals, and good s-f discusses such things (and, for contrast, their dystopic opposites).

My favorite quote from Contact (by a non-human, obviously):

You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.

(Side note: I wondered for years why I rarely enjoyed normal fiction. Unless written by an artist of the written word, it seemed plain, ordinary, flavorless. I now know what I only sensed then–I was looking for better worlds to explore. I remember such a wonderful sense of relief when I read my first s-f novel–Asimov’s Foundation. I still remember what an epiphanic moment that was.)

Encourage your children to read good s-f. And read it yourself. Dwell on what might be, rather than what is. It’s the first step in making a better world.

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Theater history in the making? Not really.

Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 10 June 2007

It’s always interesting to see a play in progress.

I went to Bryant-Lake Bowling’s Caberet Theater last night to see Broadway Bound…and Gagged. I’d be a little hard-pressed to describe the plot, other than wholesale theft of numbers from other musicals, and a generous dose of gender bending and general sexual hijinx.

“Two Broadway babies in heat, exploring perversions of your favorite show tunes.”

It’s fun to watch a show that puts more emphasis on effort than on “cool” effects and slick stage business. The show has a lot of rough edges, but that was part of its charm. It’s a work-in-progress as well, with business and material added regularly.

The performers wander into the crowd and work it (I got to–was made to–put my arm around Justin Leaf’s corseted waist), and one woman in the audience was pulled onto the stage for one of the weirdest b/d sessions you’ll see on a public stage. She was either a plant or the world’s best sport.

(It was interesting to watch is how the production’s action rides the edge between audience titillation and getting in trouble with the law. In one scene, Brooke Murphy demonstrated a unique way of using a dildo as a device to squeeze juice from a grapefruit, and a more, er, traditional way of cleaning the dildo afterward.)

A good time was had by all (or at least me), and that good time included a tremendous Ace Pear Cider, which was one of the best hard ciders I’ve ever had–light, crisp, and not too sweet.

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