Saturday, May 30, 2009
Leather Lions
So this past weekend, I was in the Windy City of Chicago, attending a hoity-toity academic conference. But during the preceding week, while I was chatting with the gay denizens of crazy-wild-Chi-town, the most common question I encountered, when I told them the dates of my visit, was: "O, you're coming for IML?"

Umm,... IML?

IML, as it turned out, was the mecca of all things queer and leather: the International Mr. Leather contest/ conference/ festival. The reason for using those three words and all that "/" is mainly that I'm not sure (yet!) exactly what it is/was. Not quite a festival like the Gay Pride marches, not exactly a conference where fancy-shmancy papers get presented (and ignored thereafter), and no, not merely a contest either.

For five whole days, leather afficiandoes (and yes, they were men, no women at all that I could see!) descend from all over the world to Chicago, in all their bovine (o, I'm sure most were faux leather!) adornments and glittery chrome attachments, to strut down Michigan Avenue. An entire five-star hotel is booked by the IML organizers, rooms are offered to attendees at special rates, conference and banquet rooms are booked for special 'sessions' (to put it most delicately) and a Leather-Mart that houses the most out-of-the-world apparatus, and a long-drawn-out pageant to crown International Mr. Leather is held.

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My first reaction, when I heard the whole deal: O.M.G.... how frikkin' fantabulous! :)

Yes, so you always knew I'm a bit of a skank, didn't you? *grin*

Unfortunately, I had to balance IML and my hoity-toity conference together, so no, I wasn't exactly hanging for my life onto the slings suspended in the ballrooms, or screaming hoarsely in a sweaty hotel-room (well, not the IML hotel-room, at any rate! *giggle*)... I was trying to be a good nerdy academic at the conference, imbibe the High Arts of fabulous Chicago, and engage in some tiltillating voyeurism at IML - all at the same time. So, I visited the world-famous Leather-Mart with a hunky 'daddy', was suitably awestruck at the scope of the human imagination that could come up with all the wondrous inventions therein, and ogled at the furry/ smooth/ gleaming buttocks in full display at the hotel.

But my favorite intermingling of the three? Most definitely, when I hit the Art Institute of Chicago to check out its new Modern wing with a conference-colleague, and spied the many gorgeous leather-men in their boots and chaps milling around...

You've head of the famous lions at the Art Institute, right?...

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Now imagine my roars of approval! :)

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Thursday, May 28, 2009
Spring Cleaning
In the eons long past, I would have a little scrap book of sorts, filled with ticket-stubs, pamphlets, brochures and other knick-knacks from my holidays. A keepsake of the vacation and the memories, I suppose. Nothing too fancy - it was usually a blank exercise book with all those little what-have-yous stapled in, and little notes scribbled on the side. And then, Blogger happened. There was no need anymore to go to all that trouble - it was much easier to post about the things I'd seen, the places I'd been to, (the people I'd shagged)... you get the point. :)

And then there was Facebook.

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I asked a friend the other day via chat on FB whether he thought it was behind the death of blogging. The answer I got was hardly conclusive, but it's something I haven't been able to shake off, either. Satori pinged me the other day (well, to be honest, this was a couple of weeks ago!) on FB that it was about time I went back to blogging, and while I did agree with him in my response, it took me this long to get back on the wagon. The answer as to why (or why not!) is fodder for another post - hell, I need something to keep me going, right?! - and I won't talk about that now. Suffice to say, this my most recent return to Blogger (circa: now) is as much a return to blogging, as it is a return to the root causes of blogging.

I write my self. Think about that for a moment.

On the events side of things, I've been a busy, busy, busy boy. I finished writing up my thesis (in all its 240-page verbosity!), then defended it successfully, said goodbye to my Midwestern university, got accepted at my dream school for a Phd program (due to start in August), presented a couple of great papers at a global conference, embedded myself with Irish Coffee's family (especially, his dad!), spent a gorgeous week in Chicago (arguably the most amazing city in the world), and bought my tickets for a long-awaited trip back home to India later this month. Is it any wonder that I haven't had much time for blogging, so that status updates on Facebook were all that I was capable of? :)

On the personal life side of things, I've been equally busy. It's been interesting, fabulous and tantalizing, living in with Irish Coffee for the past month or so, since the semester closed. I've been experimenting with strange cocncoctions in the kitchen, which haven't been all bad, really. And I've been growing (maturing, I'd like to think) in my relationship, both with my lover and myself. I've been exploring boundaries and central cores both, and I think I've been the wiser for it. I don't mean to sound like a tored old man here - o, you should have seen me party in Chicago this past week! - but I do want to stress on how important that peculiar juxtaposition of stability and mercurial flows is. Perhaps I need to book a spot with The View ladies to elaborate on that one. :)

For the moment, though, I'm satisfied. Scratch that - 'satisfaction' is a bad word to use here. It's more like: content to be here at this space, excited for the crazy new stuff that I know is right around the corner, and clearing up my closet from the past.

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Hello again, Self. :)

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