Sexy Media Monday (Again)

I don’t know why Monday is sex day; it just seems to work out that way. Maybe we all need a little titillation to get us through the first day back at work (although personally, my Mondays are already a fantastic kind of exciting, as you may know).

Google TechTalks on YouTube has a fantastic recording of Violet Blue’s talk about sex on the internet, the realities of porn, sexual privacy, and a myriad of other issues that are super important to understand—and talk about! It’s down-to-earth, entertaining to listen to (plus, her slides are awesome), safe for work if your employer isn’t offended by intelligent discussion of sexuality on the ‘net, and full of really interesting (and wonderful, and sometimes horrifying) information.

Also, cute bits like this: “The internet is growing new users every single day, and will continue,” she says, wielding one finger in feigned accusation, “until you all stop breeding.” (I think that’s at around 18:20 in—adorable!)


Youngstown November

Don’t think I forgot how gorgeous Youngstown can be in the autumn—that is why I brought my camera, after all. I had a fantastic time running around on the porch with the dogs, and taking pictures outside—just a few days before the snow came.

Youngstown Autumn

Youngstown Autumn

Youngstown Autumn

Mmmm… Airport Food.

The man three seats down is watching Boogie Nights on his laptop—without headphones. I’m pretty amused. Someone else, across from me and a few seats the other way, is devouring a fast food dinner. McDonald’s, with various dipping sauces. Pittsburgh’s wifi is free, and I like that. My mother bought me chicken noodle soup before I went through security. Who knows how long it had been sitting in that warmer before it came to me; I ate a few bites, slowly, and let Dad have the rest.

I have four snack bars in my briefcase—funny Kashi TLC things, cereal bars I guess, crunchy and pretty good. They don’t taste like sugar, or additives. That’s kind of awesome. Maybe I’ll have another when I get on the plane.

I’m sleepy, I’d guess, because of all the refined stuff I ate at the Italian restaurant in Girard. It was a cute restaurant, but it served restaurant food (of course) and although the shrimp and mussels were delicious, they came with your usual run-of-the-mill bread and pasta. (That’s like a joke! Run-of-the-mill! I kill me!) The further something is from the ground it grew in, the more havoc it seems to wreak on the joints in my hands. Ow. Refined wheat and sugar seem to be the worst culprits, but it’s more complicated than that. I haven’t quite figured it out, but I will.

Vixen told me this weekend about Casa de Luz, which apparently specializes in macrobiotic cuisine—all real, whole organics. And I think Christopher Barzak said something about wishing for higher quality cuisine in Youngstown. God, if Youngstown had someplace like that, I would have eaten there all weekend. I know these places must exist somewhere in or around the Mahoning Valley, short of Cleveland or Pittsburgh. I would love to hear about them. And if they don’t, it’s certainly time to bring them in, don’t you think?

It’s time for my flight to board. See ya’ll in Houston! (Well, for an hour, anyway.) ;}

Texas Renaissance Festival

This past Saturday I spent the day at the Texas Renaissance Festival with Marty and Vixen. It was an intensely enjoyable day, and I took pictures. Here are a few of E Muzeki, whose music is as beautiful as its musicians:

E Muzeki

E Muzeki

E Muzeki

We also were privileged to watch the unbelievably skillful offerings of Shunyata Belly Dance, which boasts the company of alarmingly talented (and adorable) Silvia:

Shunyata Bellydance

I posted some other performance-related thoughts at my mezzo blog, if you’d like to take a look.

Sexy Media Monday

As you might suspect, I have sex on the brain. (If you didn’t suspect it, I don’t know how else I might have warned you. Sorry!) Having just read that part, you may also suspect that most of the links in this post might be less than work-safe, unless you work somewhere extra awesome. (If you suspect that, you’d be right.) Click carefully! ;}

Anyway, so many neat things have been happening. Far be it from me to keep them from you! I mean, you deserve to know. You must not be left in the dark! This is my sacred duty, dude. Or something. Where do I start??

Sexy-scary photo fun from Violet’s Flickrstream
Violet Blue has started a digital publishing company: the fabulous and appropriately named digita publications. Since launch, digitapub has released two awesome offerings: Pleasure Zone Basics (open source sex ed, in nine parts), and an ebook called How to Kiss. Both are completely DRM-free, and the ebook is available in several different incredibly useful formats. I haven’t been all the way through the audiobook yet, but I blew through How to Kiss in an afternoon. It’s gorgeously written and full of really excellent information. (Also? She talks about the Zombie Kiss, for which I can never truly repay her. SO very awesome.) If you are at all interested in accurate, enjoyable, easy-to-parse sex information, Violet is definitely your gal—and the prices she’s set are pretty thoroughly fabulous. Plus, since I started writing this post there’s another great halloween-specific release, and it looks fantastic. Go take a look!

In addition to all of that, I also had a great time reading her initial tinynibbles post about Digita Publications, because she has a lot to say about why she went in this direction after being traditionally published for many years, why she chose the anti-DRM route and how she hopped over some minor obstacles (cough, iTunes) along the way. Extremely excellent.

Yes, there’s more. Kiki started a new sexblog and it is awesome. She writes really well and if her first three are any indication of future posts, I am expecting super fun content. If you like sex-writing and related material, you might even enjoy it as much as I do!

So you can see how the sex-centered part of Megan’s brain is just doing backflips lately.

You also won’t be surprised to find out that my situation got worse (better!) when Apple posted this fantastic high-res tour of their new OS. Because, you know, me and sexy technology…

Two words: Time Machine. Whew!!

Update: I have been informed that any energy spent drooling over Time Machine is a result of the graphics, not the functionality. Apparently the functionality has been around for awhile—but dude, the combination is luscious!

And I almost forgot: In alarming proximity to the moment I started searching for sexy halloween movies to watch this week, Violet’s most recent SFGate article went live: Bring on the lesbian vampires. It just doesn’t get better than that. (And it’s a hell of a list!)

A Little Perspective

Stage Direction

DRUMMOND. (Honestly.) I’m sorry if I offend you. But I don’t swear just for the hell of it. You see, I figure that language is a poor enough means of communication as it is. So we ought to use all the words we’ve got. Besides, there are damned few words that everybody understands.

~ Inherit the Wind, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

For my Mom

MomThis post has been a draft for months, waiting to be polished and posted. I’ve been preoccupied for at least that long, trying to think of what I would tell you about my mother.

For a large chunk of that time, it only contained two words: lip gloss.

But lip gloss isn’t all there is to say. I’m going to tell you the rest, too. About the lip gloss, yes, but about the rest, most definitely. Anyway, I’ll start with the lip gloss.

When I was growing up, my mommy always had little colored pots of Rachel Perry lip gloss in her purse. Mostly, I remember it being cantaloupe. I think she had mint too, and grape. They were flavored and very tasty. When she let me use some to make my lips soft, I would inevitably sneak some onto my tongue, too. I think she did tell me that lip gloss was not for eating (I was that kind of sneaky kid). Cantaloupe lip gloss wedged itself in my childhood consciousness and stayed there long, even until my mother found those same pots at the local health food store and gave them to my sister and I for Christmas. These days, I don’t eat it. But for using as lip gloss, it is awesome. And it reminds me of my mom. Anyway, I did try it, just once. It still tastes the way I remember it. I’m just… not into eating lip gloss anymore. It makes me think of mom’s purse, and being little.

Apple FamilyMy mommy has always been warm and smooth. Often crazy (I inherited that from her, no doubt) but also sweet and good and loving. My mom paid for my rehearsals and bought me concert gowns when we were subsisting on cold cereal and canned soup. She put my photos in the paper, wrote the articles and sent them, hung my performance fliers in her office window and gave her clients my business cards. She has always been so proud of what I was doing, always wanted badly for me to do even more.

She videotapes my shows, brings audio recorders to concerts (whether or not I approve, and that’s the way it is). We always seem to have something to listen to or watch later, something for her to show people, something to show off a little. Though I received quite a bit of financial and emotional support for the trip to Wales, from many corners, she was absolutely instrumental in pushing it through, making it work, and inexplicably managed to cart herself there too, with father and grandmother in tow—to Wales. She helped me pay for all the bizarre comforts that soothed and strengthened me, helped me do incredibly well (and I am pleased to say that I didn’t disappoint her!). She’s still pushing, with articles in the paper and photos pinned to her office wall, and without her, who knows what I’d have gotten done by now?

From my mother I am strong and stubborn, and not only a little brilliant. She made me an artist and a musician in many ways, and encouraged me to do the things I did so well when my friends’ parents were grousing and insisting they look to “real” careers. My mother always knew what I was capable of. She never doubted it for a moment.

Many difficult years and it can be hard to remember these things. But they’re all true.

Kindergarten GraduateWhen I wanted to read, she bought me books. Growing up, I had so many books! Even now, buying books is a habit I can’t throw off, and wouldn’t want to. She made reading and learning a dear drug (a dear drug, indeed! How much did I spend on new reading material this month?) and always kept me moving forward, even when we barely had the means. And if any of you have managed not to notice (what, are you living under a rock?) I’m running or helping to run more than one business, building my own projects, engaged in creating myself, making the whole world into what I want it to be. This is due in no small part to my mother. I can’t say it elegantly. It’s too simple. I love my mom a lot.

Someday, I will make a lot of money. I will buy my mom pretty things—I want to buy her clothes and carpets and furniture. I want her to have time to keep a garden. For now, the only thing I can do is love her a lot, and let her push me forward. The further I go, the better I am. She knows what she’s doing. It’s making me better and better—driving me faster and building me up stronger.

That’s what my mom did. Anyway, today is her birthday. I love you, Mom!

My Pretty Mommy

The Accidental Mind

The Accidental MindSunday afternoon I tagged along to BookPeople with Vixen to hear David Linden talk about his book, The Accidental Mind.

I hadn’t heard of it before, but having already delved into Stumbling on Happiness (Daniel Gilbert), I was instantly curious. I might truthfully have a meta-brain, which wonders about itself; if this is the case, I’m not in bad company.

You won’t be surprised that in discovering his blog, my interest in Mr. Linden was increased. He even made an entry about the Electronic Orifice Orchestra, part of Arse Elekronika’s sex & tech offerings earlier this month in San Francisco (something else I have a mad interest in). It’s odd and wonderful that in the blogosphere I can often see clearly if a writer’s attentions intersect with my own. He also made the following post in September:

The Elevator in my Shanghai Hotel…

...has a sign which announces the following (as an ad for their spa).

“Foot soaking in Springtime will strengthen Yang and reinforce vital energy. In Summer, it will dispel disease caused by heat and dampness. In Autumn, it will lubricate the intestines and in Winter, it will warm the pubic region.”

Well, I’m sold. Dude, sign me up.

David Linden, I think we can be friends.

And so it was that on a sunny day in mid-October I went downtown to Texas’ most esteemed book-selling establishment to sit in a surprisingly comfortable folding chair, scribbling notes and listening intently to the musings of a man that reminded me strangely of Pittsburgh and Todd McCaffrey, for different reasons. He had a regional accent that I couldn’t quite identify, and he was decidedly charismatic as a speaker (at least from where I was sitting).

I took a veritable deluge of notes; when we arrived he was just launching into an explanation of the brain as accidentally functional, rather than expertly designed. We covered structural qualities, experiential development, and the sexual behaviors of animals as compared to their human counterparts. (I told you it was good.) This part of the discussion was particularly interesting, though we eventually found our way on to other topics.

“It’s not just porn,” he explained—“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

As animals that can think about themselves thinking (that’s us), we sure do have a complicated system to consider. There are so many details, and scientists have probably begun to understand only a small fraction of them. That said, Mr. Linden seems to be pretty sure of his ideas, and he communicates them well. As creatures whose brain development depends on experience (the reason our childhoods take up such a large portion of our entire life spans as compared to other creatures, as I understand it), it’s very interesting that we are built to create narrative. Our telling of stories is more important than we may realize—even if most of our details are, well, edits.

A lot of Linden’s discussion had nifty hooks into the material I read in Stumbling on Happiness and I can’t help but wonder if the two books might not turn out to be complementary. That said… I still need to finish the Gilbert book, at least before jumping into the next! But it’s on my list, and it looks like it will be quite interesting—especially if the fabulousness of the author is any indication.

Experiments in Religion

I adore this post in Tim Ferriss’ blog:

What Happens When an Agnostic Follows the Bible Literally for One Year?

I encountered the story about AJ Jacobs a few times over the last few weeks (this is the same guy who wrote the radical honesty piece for Esquire) but hadn’t had a chance to really look at it. In this entry, Tim does an interview and the result is a really nice summary of what’s going on, and what everyone thinks about it. If you have any interest in religion, you should definitely take a look at this! There are definitely negative and positive aspects of the experiment, and I think I know people who will be particularly surprised by one or the other. Definitely take a look if you have a moment. Awesome.

Usual Error Intensive: Week Five

It’s time for the Usual Error Intensive, week five! Are you excited?? Omg are you excited?? I’m excited! It is time for my Usual Error liveblogging extravaganza! Keep reloading, friends and neighbors! Can I get a few more exclamation points, please?!

If you’d like to see my previous posts on Positivity, I’ll list them here:

Our One Bullet Point For the Evening! (9:25 PM)

Incredible Youngstown: Top Five

Remember yesterday’s Intangibles post on the Virtual Magpie blog? Well, I couldn’t just overlook the rest of Brooke’s comments! So here you go: Brooke’s top five most incredible things happening in Youngstown. I was a shrew to only give her five slots, but I had to start somewhere… ;}

The Energy

I think that the most incredible thing happening in Youngstown is intangible: the energy. The amount of excitement and opportunity, and that swell of feeling that envelops everything as people start to realize what opportunity really looks like. It’s the acknowledgment that there is so much we can do and nothing holding us back (or at least, nothing that we cannot change in order to get what we want).

Link (Virtual Magpie).

The Oakland Center for the Arts

Another thing that Brooke talked about being super excited about—and justifiably biased for—is the Oakland Center for the Arts downtown. This is a case, she said, of a Youngstown-based non-profit with a lot of years behind it still putting up a fight, changing to keep up with the times, pushing to offer more to the community.

[...] When every other theater has a 5-show season, we push for 7. We choose contemporary shows. We look for offerings that reflect real people and have a strong connection to issues that genuinely concern this area. At the same time, we’re learning to grow our off-stage opportunities as well, like our art gallery and open mic nights.

In all of this, the thing I can’t stop thinking about is the open mic night. It sounds like far too much fun—just look at the variety of acts they’ve hosted: drag queens, drag kings (stop my heart), Broadway belters, local bands, solo acts, spoken word artists, comedians, tap dancers, painters, even film trailer debuts. I haven’t been able to tell exactly when the next might be, possibly because the most recent was so recent, but wow. It actually makes me want to coordinate my next Youngstown visit based on their schedule!

She also mentioned that the Oakland is starting to do more outreach with other non-profit and creative groups, like First Book (I can only assume she means this, and Tyler Clark talks about First Book Mahoning Valley here) and the YSU Poetry Center, which looks awesome.

(Update: Ah-ha! The next open-mic—they call it The Stage, which I think is such a great name, is Sunday, October 28th (“Stage Fright!”), a Halloween edition—hee! Brooke has a post about it here. Dude.)

The Youngstown Arts Scene

I’m in Austin now, but even I’m excited about Youngstown’s art scene. There seems to be a lot of conversation from all corners about pushing the creative edge in the Youngstown area to get the right juices flowing, and that’s so exciting—hell, that’s one of the big reasons I moved, to get access to a city with that creative edge. If Youngstown starts moving in that direction (and from close accounts, it seems it may already have begun) it would bring a very particular kind of awesome energy to community efforts. James Seckler had me start reading Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class, and it’s providing some really interesting arguments for the role of creativity in economic prosperity. Not to mention, I’d love to visit family for Christmas and have an exciting arts scene to explore! The value is there—the opportunity is ours to nourish it, help it become amazing. Brooke also mentioned that the new Mahoning County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau is targeting area arts, and I love the sound of that.

Youngstown Weekends

I love that I cannot book an event at the Oakland without triple checking to see what else is happening…

Brooke pointed me to’s FABULOUS Events section. Give this thing a try—it looks really nicely put together (and it has an option that lets you support local bands).

New Businesses in Youngstown.

New businesses. Man, don’t get me started. I wonder if the businesses in Youngstown realize what an incredible opportunity is being handed to them. Brooke mentioned Ohio Vintage—owned by Aspasia Lyras, who did the costuming for a ton of my high school productions at Ursuline, eek!—and how exciting it is to see the business grow, and network, and build community. My list of things to see and people to visit is getting so long! And businesses are popping up like that—all over the Mahoning Valley. (Also: Aaaah! Vintage clothes! Glee!)

Dude!! Aren’t you excited just reading about it?? I’m very grateful to Brooke for getting back to me, because her answers really got my brain turning. She also suggested that I contact a few other prolific Youngstown minds—I rather think I will. Anyone want to volunteer? ;}

Changes of Heart

I’ll let Jerry speak for himself:

Link (via &).

Food Frustration

Note to Self: Cut sunflower sprouts before eating. It was misguided to think I could eat them like a salad. Too springy. In a bowl with salad dressing, eating one end results in the other end hitting me in the face. Eating many sprouts on a fork results in many other ends hitting me in the face. Dressing everywhere. Suggested nom: “Salad of Retribution.” Incredibly frustrating to eat!

Information Dissemination

Not a lot to aggregate this week, ‘cause I’ve been working like a dog, but plenty to report upon!


  • Virtual Magpie: Cloud Nine Musings. Directionless rambling about awesomeness. New things happening, feeling awesome about meetings and arrangements, wondering who else loves their job this much. G’ness.
  • Virtual Magpie: Planting Seeds. Information on the connection paradigm! This is so cool! If you only read one thing today, read the thing I link to from this post…


  • Pretties. Scott Westerfield, second book in the trilogy. I have the next book too (all borrowed from Vixen) so I am scooting through these. I did say I wanted fiction…
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Michael Pollan, incredibly engaging. This guy is… I don’t know. I mean, he certainly seized an opportunity, but he does it with a lot of flair.

This Week, I…

  • Got rained on at Chuy’s. Marty and I went Saturday, and sat outside. It was nice and cool, and there weren’t a lot of people crowded outside—probably because of the threatening rain, ha ha. We got drizzled on, but Marty valiantly continued to eat his Elvis Presley Memorial. Yeah, like rain is going to stop him.
  • Had awesome, awesome meetings. Monday especially was a crazy day for meetings—one with Ragen and then a general Cloud Nine “excitement” meeting (very accurately named). Monday was a blast, dude.
  • Had friends over for yoga! Kiki happened to be in town, so Robert brought her along. Even on about five hours of sleep, it was really enjoyable and excellent.
  • Saw Sharks 3D at the IMAX! Last night Marty and I met Vixen downtown and we put on totally goofy 3D glasses and learned about sharkies! It was pretty great, actually.
  • Ate at Jimmy John’s. Omg! I was worried about having to eat a sandwich but in honor of Atkins addicts they have this thing called an unwich—wrapped in lettuce instead of bread! It was surprisingly yummy (if a little messy).
  • Made a ridiculous sundae at Amy’s. Kahlua ice cream, hot fudge, marshmallows, reese cups and heath bar. No, I didn’t eat all of it. But it was delicious for the first ten or fifteen bites…