Photo © copyright 1998, Julian Axolotl.
"Shop & Compare," Burning Man, 1998.
Who, me? I'm a 40 year old divorced white male. I'm bald, six feet tall, and weigh about 260 pounds -- but I carry it well, and I'm in better shape than I look. Since the picture at right was taken (at Burning Man 1998), I've had to shave the goatee off (Job reasons. See below.)
I'm a second-generation Weirdo-American; my father was a "beatnik" before Life magazine coined the term. I've been a science fiction fan and a student of magick and the occult for 25 years. I also read boatloads of non-fiction and history. I've played role-playing games off and on since 1978, and I'm writing one now. I'm a self-proclaimed Pagan mystical Libertarian intellectual, and a pretty darned good teacher, orator, and essayist. On the other hand, tact and subtlty are not my greatest strengths.
I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and lived here most of my life. I've only been away for college, and then for the two years I spent on the road, operating a traveling business selling mind machines and related products at science fiction conventions and Pagan festivals out of a 1989 Pace Arrow 37J motor home.
That business went under; the RV had more mechanical problems than I could afford to fix. Shame; the business was just getting to the point of earning me a living wage. But repairs were way, way over what everybody told me to budget. So I'm back in town again, more or less to stay.
"It blowed up real good."
OK, that's an exaggeration. It pretty much died, of old age exacerbated by a couple of mistakes on my part.
It needed about $10,000 in repairs to remain livable and driveable. My business was making money, but not that kind of money yet. And my credit rating wasn't nearly good enough to borrow that much, let alone buy another motor home. Lord knows I tried.
So I sold it to a wholesale dealer for next to nothing, a 10-year-old GMC van and $1,000 cash, back in October of 1999.
I'm a licensed professional Uniformed Security Officer for Pinkertons Security Services. You know, a rent-a-cop. A scarecrow in 10 pounds of blue polyester. At the moment, that means that I patrol an office complex in Creve Coeur. It's easy work, I spend very little time sucking up, and it almost pays the bills.
And, of course, I'm scraping together the money and other requirements to resurrect my own business, U.S. Shamanics & Mechanical Zen. The good news is that I've already got the online store back in operation.
|USPS:||8708 Crocus Ln Apt 6, St Louis MO 63114-4356, USA.|
|Sprint PCS:||+1 314 265-7720|
My official work schedule is Sunday 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday & Tuesday 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm, and Wednesday & Thursday 11:00 pm to 7:00 am. (Yes, a swing-shift schedule. And yes, working that Sunday morning sucks. But it was the only way to get Fridays and Saturdays off.) And yes, it is generally OK to call me at work. (In fact, please do.)
Normally, I sleep days. That means that you should assume that I am asleep from around 3:00 am or whenever I get home until 3:00 pm, sometimes later. Saturday nights are hard to predict; unless I've got a good reason not to, I go to bed early so I'm more alert on Sunday morning.
I will say this: as much as I love to have company, it is much safer to call ahead than to just drop by. When in doubt, go ahead and call -- if I absolutely have to be asleep, I'll have have the phone turned off, and you'll get my voice mail.
Well, it depends. Please don't be offended if I don't remember where we met (especially if you don't either); I'm bad with names that way. The best way to remind me is to tell me a story; I remember good stories the best. Anyway, here are a few of the places you might have met me or heard of me, in no particular order:
My new apartment is a trifle small to throw parties in, so the old House Rules are moot, but just as a historical document (and because I'm proud of them), I've kept a copy on the web, currently at http://us-shamanics.com/brad/rules.html.
Not in quite some time, as it happens. Between various bouts of moving all over the country and/or grinding poverty, I really haven't had the time or opportunity until recently.
If you are personally interested, and are female (sorry, I'm incurably hetero), at least 18 but preferably no older than 50 or so, interested in any or all of the above, and single or in an open relationship, and you are possibly romantically interested, by all means, send email.
I'm especially attracted to women who are sharp dressers with their own sense of personal style. I'm an absolute whore for wit; reading Dorothy Parker turns me on. I also prefer my dates to be well-read (or at least well-informed) in at least one area, especially if it's science fiction, politics, or any branch of mysticism -- if you've got nothing to teach me, I have no idea what we'll talk about. I have a special fondness for exhibitionists. I'm turned off by nearly all Christians. I won't date pro-lifers. Weight isn't necessarily a problem, but if the Body Mass Index is significantly above 40, I find it unattractive unless she's both comfortable in it and unusually good at "costuming to body type." And if you'd rather watch professional team sports than discuss ideas or books, please do us both a favor and stay the heck away from me.
If you try, you might find out that I'm friendly, kind, supportive, open-minded, interested in everything about you, helpful to a fault, and capable of being deeply romantic but incapable of jealousy (although envy is, sometimes, within my emotional range).
As Lauren Bacall's character said in her first movie To Have and Have Not (one of my favorites), "I'm hard to get .... You have to ask. Or maybe just whistle." But I warn you, if you're subtle about it, I'll miss it.
What do I want from a romantic relationship? More female friends, women who'd enjoy spending time just hanging out or going places together. I want women who share what's important in their lives, and who care about what's important in mine. On that basis, we could develop friendships on any of many levels. I'd like it if that friendship included mutual flirting and mutual affirmation. At some point, it may or may not come to involve sex, whether vanilla, BDSM, group, or whatever seems right to both (or all) of us at the time -- but that's far enough down the road that I spare it very little attention right now. The future will take care of itself.
What I am not looking for is "the one special someone" with whom I will settle down with, and who will meet all of my relationship needs so long as we both shall live. I don't know that I'm capable of that. I do know that I'm not interested in it. If you have access to a copy of Time Pressure by Spider Robinson, see the last paragraph on page 131. (At least, that's where it is in my 1988 Ace paperback edition; it's the paragraph where Sam explains to Rachel what he meant when he said, "I love you.")
Because I can't hear you, and I can't hear me, so I keep talking louder until I can hear myself talking.
No, I'm not deaf. I test as having above-average hearing, yes, including the range of human voice. But I have this little processing defect: I cannot discriminate among sounds very well. If the room is at all noisy, for instance if there are other conversations going on or there's background music or (Ghod forbid) the TV is on, I can't make out a thing you're saying.
I've struggled with it ever since it was pointed out to me as a kid. Piracetam helps, but I can't get it legally in the US, and can't afford to smuggle it. Nothing else helps.
You can't help me hear you, except by speaking a little louder, or a little more slowly with exaggerated ennunciation, the way you'd talk in a room with a lot of echo. You can help me speak more softly by letting me know when I'm doing it. Just hold up a hand where I can see it, palm down, and move the hand down, like you're trying to push something down. That's the signal that my friends agreed upon to subtly tell me when I'm shouting and can't tell. I'm terribly sorry; I'd do better than that if I could.
*Sigh* I'm not angry. I just look angry.
Part of it is that you're not giving me any slack. I'm large, I'm bald, I'm loud (see above), I talk fast, and my complex speech patterns (book learned) come across to some people as condescending. (They're not meant to be; that's just how I talk.) So I come across as a bit aggressive, and I'm really not.
The rest is all facial expression. I don't have any. Well, OK, some. But mostly, I don't. It may be Asperger's Syndrome. It may be because I was almost completely blind at the age when humans are learning to see. (My vision was probably around 20/200 as an infant. I wasn't diagnosed as near-sighted and given glasses until 3rd grade.) But whatever the reason, I don't change facial expressions a lot.
Oh, and I'm also embarrassed about my teeth. I'm told that they're not as bad as I think they are, but I think they're horrible. When I was six, a bully broke out my front teeth. The quack dentist my parents took me to did a terrible job on the reconstruction. They're not only the wrong size and color, over time they gave me a terrible overbite, which has caused my lower teeth to grow in snaggly and crooked. So one reason I don't smile much is that I'm embarrassed to show my teeth.
You know how dolphins look like they're smiling all the time? It's not that they're always happy. Their mouths just naturally curve that way. Well, my face just naturally rests in a position that looks like a frown. Unless you see my eyebrows scrunched together and lowered in a fierce (and unmistakeable) glare, it's not one. Don't take it as one.
That being said, there are a few things that can be counted on to tick me off. But that's a topic for another long essay of its own.
I was born on July 11th, 1960. I haven't seen a copy of my birth certificate since I was a kid, but I think I remember the time was listed as 12:40 am CDT. I was born in St. Louis, Missouri. I'm pretty sure, given that I ended up in a Catholic orphanage in the city, that I was born in one of the city's Catholic hospitals, but not knowing which one, I can't give you latitude and longitude much more closely than 39° N, 91° W.
That makes me a Cancer, triple conjunct: Sun, Mercury, and Venus; with moon in Aquarius, Mars in Taurus, Aries in the ascendant, Jupiter in Sagittarius, and Saturn in Capricorn. You can calculate the rest yourself if you care, especially since I have no way of knowing which "house system" you prefer. Mind you, I don't any personal use for astrology, but I get asked this question a lot.
I'm adopted. I was adopted at a very early age, only a couple of months. I have no memory at all of either my birth parents, nor of the orphanage, and no interest whatsoever in either.
Of my adopting family, both parents and all four grandparents are dead. The last of those to die, my mother, disowned and disinherited me in the will, cutting me explicitly out of the family.
I have one sister, who so far as I can tell has despised me her entire life. She has never passed up a chance to pick on me or snipe at me unless she was that desperate for bail money.
As children, we were never encouraged to know anyone on my mother's side of the family. I suspect I know why, and if I'm right, there was a good reason for that.
On my father's side, there's his sister and her family. They're all nice people, but I don't really know them, and they don't really know me. We haven't had much to do with each other in 20 years.
I was briefly married. But she was pathologically jealous and untrusting, even though I never did anything to give her any reason to be, so I ended up divorced from her after less than three years. Given my druthers, I would've stayed friends, but she wasn't having any of that. I kind of liked my ex-inlaws, but since the divorce long ago, have had no contact with them. Thank Prime there were no kids.
I used to be in a coven that claimed to be my family. They pledged me perfect love and perfect trust. We swore an annually renewed oath to be there for each other. When the RV I was living in blew up and I was desperately, almost suicidally poor, it wasn't any of them that helped me at all. Some of them weren't even returning my phone calls. So no, I'm not real close to any of them, either.
So no, I don't really have any family, and it's not an entirely comfortable subject for me.
Ah, the classic St. Louis question.
I realize that I'm a hard person to shop for, so here are some things that I can always use: