Thursday, December 4, 2014

Purgatory Frozen Winter Fetish

Portable Weirdness and The Krampus will be at Single Cell Productions' Purgatory #61, December 13th at Amos' Southend in Charlotte, NC. Things get cranked up at 8 pm and go till 2 am, and include performance art, killer DJs, interactive fetish entertainers, costume design and fashion statements, a VIP Dungeon, and cool shopping for peeps that don't do ugly ties, bad cologne, or godsawful Claxton fruitcakes when they give holiday gifts!

If you're a Purgatory alumni, you know why they're still going after all this time. If you see people in the fetish/BDSM life and run screaming for a bed to hide under, come on out and hang out (literally) with folks who've not only made peace with their demons, they invite them over for beer and pizza. Remember, it's always the quiet ones you gotta watch out for!

And if you're a really, really  bad little boy or girl, you can pet the Krampus  . . .

 . . . or take a good swing at him ;0)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Occult Square Dancing

Started using a Square card reader a few months ago amid rave reviews from friends and fellow festival vendors and had good results with it. Up until I thwacked myself upside the head because I never read through the whole policy section.

Well, that kinda creates a slight technical problem. And it's too vague to know if they're being discriminatory or just have no idea what they're talking about, or had an attack of slack and c/p'ed some moldy Nth generation boilerplate. I hadn't even thought about it because so many other PHA vendors use the thing. Google-ating drags up some previous speculation and questioning, with no hits on anything from Square indicating any significant 411 other than a broad statement about people making impossible claims about magic effects.

Okay, retroactive Do Your Homework time. Emailed Square:

Of course, I took the patently dishonest don't-throw-yourself-under-the-bus route till I find out if I screwed up or not. I haven't sold anything that would violate their policy since I read it; I'll ditch Square altogether if I find out I have been. Got this back:

 Meh. I get where they may be going, but still waffley. Emailed again:

Yeah, I went for a broad approach there. No, I do not speak for all of PHAdom. No, I do not determine what the word "occult" means for all of reality. I niptucked simplicity to convey something complicated and culturally subjective. Before you complain a whole lot, find me someone who does like hacks and rip off artists as a visual aid.

More email Wimbledon:

Gah - why does everything have to be "reaching out" now? Can't I just frackking contact
people? Is it really that threatening to think someone might want to ask you something that you're going to need to formulate a response to, so that you have to euphemize it?

Anyway, still not addressing the problem. But they're definitely getting points for not just blowing me off. Sent more longwindedness:

So tune in tomorrow for the continuing saga, if there is one after that. In the meantime, I'm signing up for PaypalHere so I'll have something to use at the next vending event either way. Per a better quality of DYH, their acceptable use policy doesn't list any similar issues.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Golden Kermit Award: Dolly Parton

Two things Dolly Parton has always been good at: being a class act with a sense of humor, and being a human being. She did it again in a recent interview during a Billboard photoshoot where she comments on using her beliefs as an incentive to treat other people like they're also human beings instead of a weapon of social punishment. Here's hoping that gains traction with more people using the Christian label.

I'm glad to see her coming up on her 50th anniversary in the music industry and still going strong. And still plugging her success and business acumen back into her home region and it's people in the form of jobs, literacy and scholarships, support of heritage crafts and folk lore, and conservation, including giving a disabled hang gliding eagle a home and a vehicle for helping his species make a comeback from extinction. She's where a bit of the attitude that's kept me in one piece came from.

Most of my family that listened to secular music were country fans, so somewhat ironically, all things considered, I grew up with Parton's music and her habit of refusing to cram her larger than life self (literally and figuratively) into anyone else's box. I could relate to her by age eleven. I was an early bloomer, and when I was in elementary school in the 70's any girl wearing a bra in fourth grade had a lot of incredibly stupid crap to put up with. Slut-shaming isn't anything new, and I thought it was doubly ridiculous to get bombed with it over something I didn't have a say in. Especially when it got paired up with lame garbage like "But people still won't like you unless you act right" and admonitions to at least try to be pretty. Just not pretty like that. You know, the nice, quiet, demure sort of pretty that also doesn't think too much. Out loud, anyway.

I read about and heard people giving her flak over her famous cleavage and her "Flash, Bang, & Brains" approach, and her outlook that took their petty BS and fired it right back at them by taking the caricature she made of herself, working it like a boss, and having a good time making fun of it all in one go. It was an ongoing class on self-preservation and not letting sad little people drag you into their personal Plane of Suck.

May she and her attitude keep running around loose being contagious for a long time yet. The more heavy-handed the rulers get, the more we need people who write their own rules. And who are too busy having fun doing it to care if someone gets their knickers in a knot over it (salutes)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The US Injustice Department - Has it Changed Your Life Yet?*

On today's installment of Epic Ethics Fail, we bring you the Federal Bureau of Overreach:

"Saltzburg, who has himself worked for the Justice Department, is frankly puzzled by the brazenness of the search here."It's very difficult to understand, unless they want to try to push the law of consent beyond where it's ever gone before," he says."

Or unless Federal agencies just don't give a damn if they get caught any more. Given the number of other instances of enforcement overreach making it into the news (partially due more to citizen reporting and digital media than anything else), I'll fall back on the same premise I've been tossing out: when criminals stop being discreet, they're either stupid because they're tools or cocky because they know they can get away with it. I'm going with both here.

The real question for me is how much backpedaling, scapegoating, or additional cover up  the FBI will have to do to avoid more than a few frowny faces from officials that still believe in a measure of professional integrity. Or whether those people will be bullied into shutting up, and this case allowed to set precedent for an uglier new normal.

* Thank you Compac

Monday, October 27, 2014

Portable Weirdness at Thaumaturgy 777's 2014 Samhain Festival

So, what are you doing Saturday, November 1st?

Portable Weirdness will be at Thaumaturgy 777's Samhain Festival in Durham NC with the usual suspects. Miles will be there with books, tethered to a convenient tree for questions and so ons.

Come close out the year or give props to your Ancestors with us and have some fun and some thinks at the same time ;0)

Directions and more details at the linked site - see ya this weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Give It Up For Osvaldo Soto

Hey people, it's payback time!

If you live in the Carolina Piedmont general area or attend events here like Central NC
Pagan Pride Day, you've likely met and directly benefited from the efforts of Kay and Osvaldo Soto. If you don't and haven't, think of them as something similar to the Missouri, the Rio Grande, or the St. Lawrence rivers - they may not run through your own back yard, but we'd all be poorer without them.

The short version is, the Sotos run Truely Unique, a metaphysical shop in Wilson NC. The long version is, they've spent the last several years being a huge local resource - the store is a learning center, a safe oasis, a gallery for local artists and craftspeople, an information kiosk, a magical and spiritual
think tank, and an interfaith bridge builder. Military veteran Osvaldo went from serving his country to serving his community,and now his community needs to step up for him.

Osvaldo has had a series of surgeries for multiple health issues, and has more hospital time to go yet. That means medical  bills, extra expenses, and time lost from the store. You can help get them though this rough spot by shopping in the Wilson store or online, participating in the YouCaring fundraiser (which does not require any sign-up-so-we-can-spam-you crap to use), and/or giving them signal boost on your blog or social media page.

Osvaldo (and his camera!) were missed at CNC PPD this year; let's show the Sotos just how much by supporting them like they've done for so many of us.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fossil What?

On today's installment of Fossils I Bought Just So I Could Find Out What The Hell They Are, we bring you WTH #36: 


If anybody can ID it, the guy I got it from is just as WTH as I am  ;0)

Please note:

1. We already know it's a fossil something
2. No, it's not a coprolite, and that joke is older than whatever it is
3. High probability of land vertebrate per the layer it was collected from
4. Yeah, I'm really sure it's not a coprolite
5. 4.75 oz
6. There is no #6, Bruce
7. Yo mama is a coprolite, hoser

Mini Gourdians!

Up next - Mini Gourdians!

These little guys work just like regular House Gourdians in every way, they're just small enough to be more practical if you have limited space or want something a little less . . . blatant.

They're all between 3" and 6", and like the original Gourdians, they're a spin off a variety of spirit doll. They're all built as blanks and can be individually customized, or if you want somebody that's already dressed for success . . .

Tag me here if you want more details or want to score one and can't get to any event where I'll be vending ;0)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

'Allo Ello

**Had to go there  ;0)
Giving Ello the newbie site a shot. The mad science beta is invite only at the moment, but it'll be interesting to watch them work the bugs out as it goes.

At this point, it's a minimalist, no ads deal, and I particularly like the lack of pretentiousness and marketing hype. The comment reply flow and the search function are a bit messy; I expect those'll be the next major tweaks. They're also asking users for ideas they haven't thought of yet in addition to feedback on what's already there.

Ello is also notably not being Facecrackish by not having any ID requirements. They've apparently figured out that it's not a social media site's job to be a parent/cop combo, and are just keeping it to a "don't be a flaming jerkass douchebag" sort of thing. Being able to block people that you don't want following your posts is one of the other things the developers are working on, along with several extra features. A couple on the upcoming list that I liked were "Repost w/ author attribution" and "Ability to make profile visible on Ello network only (on/off)".
Extra features brings up another interesting point; how they're going to fund it as it gets bigger without going to ads, which means data mining and corporate posterior polishing. And flushing a hefty chunk of real integrity down the toilet. According to Ello's WTF section Support Ello:

"Ello is completely free to use.
We occasionally offer special features to our users. If we create a special feature that you really like, you may choose to support Ello by paying a very small amount of money to add that feature to your Ello account.
You never have to pay anything, and you can keep using Ello forever, for free. By choosing to buy a feature now and then for a very small amount of money you support our work and help us make Ello better and better."

So instead of having Great New Features To Improve Your Experience! and extras that you may not want but are going to be required to use anyway, they're going to let the bells and whistles users help pay for bandwidth and so on. I'm good with that approach; you get what you pay for. For that matter, I don't mind kicking some dollar support toward a useful service if it means I can keep people I don't want in my life out of it.

Staying tuned to see how it goes . . . . optimism is free, dontchakno. I'm on as Portableweirdness with the user name Snooze Hamilton; if you're on Ello and can't find me tag me here.   ;0)

**Original image owned by British Broadcasting Company LTD and subsidiaries

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham, Wheelchair Tamer

On today's installment of Epic Badassery, we bring you Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham, member of Nitro Circus. Which is a pretty good place to find good quality badassery anyway. He teaches wheelchairs to do stunts.

"I like to say I'm on a wheelchair, not in a wheelchair. 'In' sounds like you are confined to it . . . like the wheelchair owns you. If you're on it, you're just kind of riding it."

When people insist that you must define yourself by what you can't do instead of what you can do, tell them to get bent. Or just tie them to a convenient piece of large furniture and make them watch some Wheelz. Here's footage of Aaron scoring a double backflip just in case they don't get it the first time ;0)


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Central NC Pagan Pride Day - Be there!

Where the boogers did September come from?

Portable Weirdness will be at Central North Carolina Pagan Pride Day, and if you're anywhere near the area, you should be too! CNC PPD throws a great event; a whole weekend to come hang out for the PHA community and a chance to observe and ask questions for the non-Pagan public.

One of the main goals of the Pagan Pride Project is fostering understanding and community. As much as some of us may sometimes feel like we aren't part of or don't belong in our local civil communities, nobody lives in vacuum. In observance of fall harvest and showing gratitude if you're fed, and thinking about people who aren't, admission is an item(s) of non-perishable goods, with proceeds going to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC.


The Red Cross Bloodmobile will be there from 10:30 till 3:00, and typical of a buncha peeps who are are largely concerned or involved on some level with the natural world that we all live in, CNC PPD has several ways to put some bounty toward it.

Wake County Animal Rescue, the American Wildlife Refuge, Midgard Serpents Reptile Rescue, and Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue will be there with adoptable animals, educational presentations, and other opportunities to help.

Miles and I will be there both days, vending with O'Davis Trade in The Grove section just inside the fence. Miles will be tethered to a convenient tree for book signing, questions, and really hideous puns, and I gots new goodies for yer perusal. Namely a species of new House Gourdians (Mini Dudes!) and a "Build To Suit" pendulum rack with some seriously nommy stuff to choose from. See ya there ;0)

Robin Williams' Golden Kermit award

This is late, but it's going up because a Golden Kermit, or  "Millions Of People Happy" award needs to go out to this man.

There's an impressive lineup of screen coolness to his credit, Good Morning Vietnam, The Birdcage, Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, and What Dreams May Come just for ones I personally appreciate. But my all time favorite Robin Williams bit has always been An Evening At The Met from 1986. Was it his best material? Nah. It was his All Over The Place, his How The Hell Did You Segue To That, and his I'm Just Here Talking To My Friends About Life that makes it stand out for me.


Williams' improv was awe-inspiring. And he did plenty other inspiring, too.  He inspired people to take some things less seriously, like their dignity and pride, to take other things more seriously, like their compassion, and to forgive
Williams had great taste in friends
themselves for being human, or to not regard that as something that needs to be forgiven at all.

He certainly doesn't need to be forgiven for having parts of his head that didn't get along with the rest of the playground. His characters were frequently just people doing the best they could with what they had, and so was he. If his work as an actor and comedian was meant to make people see other people through a more forgiving lens, he accomplished that with some left over. We're poorer for the loss of that.

I owe Williams for being a lesson about seeing the absurdity in everything. Not necessarily a mocking, disdainful absurdity, but one that lends you the stones to be yourself because no one and nothing that tries to tear you down is as superior and perfect as it claims to be. I'm so heinously much richer for the gain of that.

Department Of Backstory: in The Muppet Movie, there's a bit that I consider to be distilled Jim Henson speaking through Kermit. Kermit is in the swamp, having just spoken to Dom Deluise as the talent agent about why he should go to Hollywood. Kermit thoughtfully repeats to himself Deluise' words, "Millions of people happy . . . .".  I think that was what Henson wanted for his life, and he made millions (if not more) people happy. How many people stand at the end of a life, and can say "I made millions of people happy"? 

We lost one of them August 11th. Williams made people belly laugh happy, and "I get you" happy, and Don't Worry Be Happy happy. I hope that in his Next Big Adventure, he's as gut-level happy as he made so many other people. (salutes)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gaza & Israel: I'm On Joe Public's Side

This is one of the pics and opinions that garnered some ire, and may have been the excuse for reporting me on Facecrack under the complaint that it amounts to anti-Semitism. At least that's what one comment said. So I figure it's obligatory to put it back up somewhere.

The photo is of two year old Salma Riyadh, who was killed in one of the bouts of shelling in the Gaza Strip. Right about the time Israel started firing on UN schools and refugee buildings after being informed repeatedly they were UN held safe zones. Right before Israel's Ayelet Shaked stated that the Palestinian people were the enemy, and that Palestinian mothers should be killed and the homes they live in should be destroyed lest they raise more "Little snakes". She's an MP, a government official, btw, and she has a whole political party with voting power behind her.

For years and years, saying that Israel or any part of it's government might be wrong has often been called unforgivable racism (or more properly, ethnicism) in the US. My family's churches (among plenty of others) teach that Israel must be defended at all costs, because they interpret particular passages of scripture to declare that Christ's Second Coming cannot happen unless Israel is a physical state. Then there's the embarrassment over The Holocaust, and the US's cowardly selfishness toward
Jewish Refugees on the USS St. Louis 1939
desperate Jewish refugees. I get it that people want a way to feel like they're making up for being too busy treating our Asian citizens like crap to be distracted by a bunch of other people and shipping them back to their deaths.

I get it, but I still have to call clusterfuck on it. For one thing, the idea of the US, whose Constitution speaks of no establishment of religion, basing foreign policy on a small extremist portion of a religious sect's dogma should make any sane person scream. For another, the ongoing history of conflict in the region is far from simple or one-sided, and screwing people who weren't even alive when something bad happened in the past is one of those Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right things. There's plenty of blame, counter-blame, and Double Dog Dare blame to go around. That said, all the persecution in the world might make calls for genocide understandable, but it does not make them acceptable. Yep, Hamas are insane bastards; Israel's government and some of it's extremists seem to be bent on outdoing them and the pathetic lingering progeny of the WWII Nazi movement. Even if Palestine was capable of throwing Hamas out, if I were them I couldn't honestly say I would trust Israel to make note of it if they did.

I'll repeat the opinion that went with the picture the first time: to any hell you like with extremism across the board. To hell with extremists in Israel, to hell with extremists in Palestine, to hell with anybody who looks at this picture and other civilians who are dead, maimed, or homeless, and cheers and applauds with satisfaction. While I'm at it, to hell with the sorry cheap bitches that think they're justified in taking their issues with Israel's behavior out on Jewish people outside of Israel. Some of whom are sick at the whole mess and just want a path to peace. This is not justice or even a decent gesture of solidarity; it's merely more of the same blind douchbaggery.

I'm not on your sides. I'm on the side of the average Joe who wishes the Crazy on any side would get off his doorstep and go away. I'm on the side of kids who are too little to understand that anyone hates them just for being alive, and who wind up not being because of it. I'm on the side of anyone who would rather have a live neighbor he disagrees with than a dead one that can't disagree with him.

I'm on the side of these two: 

 . . . .and these two:

 . . . and these guys: