On the Farm and in the city

So I’ve arrived in Antwerp. Yann’s place is huge and great. I awoke to a rooster crowing this morning because Yann has a lot of chicken’s on his little estate on the west side of the Schelde River. Pictures will be uploaded when I get back.

I survived 22 hours of flying.  This was largely due to my pal, Dave, picking me up from my layover in Chicago and taking me to this awesome vegan place for lunch. I had some spicy veggie and nut combo that rocked my palate with a ginger tea finish. I needed it for the two other flights I had after Chicago.

The festival doesn’t start until Wednesday. I figure that I’ll have mastered this new keyboard configuration by then. Yann is also schooling me in sword play. We’ve been going through combat routines with shinai (bamboo kendo swords). So I’ll hopefully have mastered that as well. More later, off to photograph the chickens.

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Rochester, aka “The Pit of Despair”

Let me start by saying that my research here is going great.  Living with family is as you would imagine to be (well maybe better than you imagine if you don’t get along with your family).

I haven’t lived in the east in over a decade, and the thing I’m being reminded of is how segregated, uptight, and sometimes desperate the gay scene can be.  I’ve gotten used to this sense of at least good will in communication when meeting people to date in Portland.  If you make a plan to meet in a day or two, you do about 80% of the time, and they might flake about 20% of the time.  That’s fine.  That falls on the positive side of dating economics.  Reverse the equation for Rochester.  If you’re not going to meet someone that night, you’ll be lucky to hear from them (even after a long seemingly positive phone conversation).  There have been a few one nighters, but I’d rather make a friend frankly.  I was overconfident about my ‘other’ romantic connections here.  I underestimated the powers of the dark side.  Tolerance for homos out here means that they won’t beat you up, but you’re pushing it if you want to be verbal or public about it at all.  No wonder fags are twitchy, uptight, and desperate here.

Maybe my sense of myself is skewed.  I thought that I was genuine, honest, and easy to get along with.  Maybe I’m just not adapted well for this ecosystem.  Like a brown bear thrust into the arctic where only polar bears can eek out a living.  Of course, that metaphor would relegate other gay men to the status of food items and carrion.  Sounds like maybe I do need to work on my mindset a bit.  Either that, or just get my research done, get out, and don’t look back (except for family).

I think this is that loneliness they talked about when going and doing fieldwork.  You lose your identity a bit, and that’s disconcerting and disorienting.  Must…..focus…..must…..complete…..tasks….forget….about….fags……..but….starved…..for…….companionship……AAAaaaaargh!

Bee Siege at Harmony Acres!

We’re in day 5 of the great bee siege here at my parents’ place in NY.  We won some ground yesterday when we opened a wall and found a HUGE hornet nest complex.  It was like a mini-version of “Aliens” without the machine guns and explosions (but lots of chemical pesticide).

The portion that we poisoned and tore out was about 2.5 ft deep x 2ft wide x 1.5ft high, BUT we believe there is still a portion of the hive under the floorboards of the second floor.

Bees started appearing in the kitchen and upstairs bedroom about 5 days ago.  We’ve been killing about 5-10 an hour from dawn til dusk.  Thankfully, they seem to follow a regular activity schedule.

I’m praying for a frost.  My nephew hates bees, and he moved over to my sisters’ house.  He was trying to tell me the world didn’t need bees.  I told him that most plant and animal life would die within a decade of bees disappearing from the planet.  I love arguing with 13 year olds.  They can’t be wrong.

Back to swatting bees!  Back Fiends, Back!!!

Back in Rochacha

Been here for a few days.  Things are going pretty well.  I went to a Rochester Improv Community meeting last night and met some of the locals.  It was mostly members of local college troupes, but there were a few members of the more professional groups in town.  It was nice to start making the connections.  I was worried that there wasn’t going to be enough long form going on here to do my study, but it sounds like there’s more brewing.  It’s feeling pretty cool to actually be an anthropologist putting myself out there and observing and such.

On the family side of things, it’s going pretty well.  There’s some tension surrounding my nephew’s somewhat surprise inclusion into residing with my family out here.  My parents are super generous, but the kid is 13.  He operates mostly through sarcasm, and I have to admit that it’s starting to piss me off.  It comes across as pretty ungrateful, and it’s hard watching my parents endure his shitty attitude sometimes.  Then I try to remember my teen years, and I relax a little.  Patience and compassion, don’t fail me now.