28 June, 2008

Nude For A Day

June 27 was the one-year anniversary of my Nude For A Day experience. Yeah, I named it. I didn't do anything special to celebrate the anniversary, though, seeing as it's pretty rare to get that opportunity in the first place. That, and I'm not terribly concerned with anniversaries anyway. Remembering it is one thing, but forcing myself to honor it on a specific day every year? That kills the spontaneity of it...

Anyhow, Nude For A Day was the first significant nudist experience I had. Certainly not the first time I experimented with being naked, but in terms of magnitude as well as proximity to my "awakening" to the reality of nudism as a realistic option, it stands out. I had tried going completely naked in the weeks prior, in the middle of the night when the house was quiet, but this was my first opportunity to have the house all to myself for a full 24 hours. My older brother was out of town overnight on business, and my dad was taking my other brother up to campus for some preliminary stuff related to that summer session - and they were spending the night there. The house would be all mine. This is probably rarer than an astronomical 3-body conjunction, and I'm not kidding.

The night before, I went to the store and bought a frozen pizza in anticipation, so that I wouldn't have any need to leave the house all day (or night). I went to bed that night completely naked, and never got dressed the whole next day. No wrapped towels, no bathrobes, nothing. The only thing that covered my body during that period was the blanket on my bed, and only during sleep - and I don't really count that.

Having dinner naked, and even cooking it in the oven, was exciting. With the light on full blast, daylight streaming through the windows, and the TV on, it was completely different from the nighttime meals I have in relative stealth mode. But my favorite part of the day was playing pool with my new Freddie King album cranked loud, not worrying about somebody walking in on me and being shocked by my liberal attire. It was an awesome experience.

Sometimes people will ask the question, "what would you do if you were the last person on Earth?" And there's obviously an undercurrent of despair there - I mean, the horror of being the only person around? Although frankly, I think I'd enjoy the solitude. To a point, at least. But anyway, I think the main point of the question is, what kind of behavior would you engage in if there were no consequences, and no fear of judgement by your peers?

The first thing I'd do is get naked, if I wasn't that way already. It seems like such a silly and trivial thing, but I know better than that now. It's not silly or trivial at all. But in addition to the nude freedom, there's all sorts of other things I'd do that I'm too scared to do in this people-ridden world. Like go out for walks more often, and during the day. Go to the store more often. Travel more. All kinds of stuff. Just generally get out there in the world, unlike my current lifestyle where I hide away in the comfort and safety of my room, away from people.

But I don't wanna talk about all that crap now. It's not any different than it was the last time I talked about it. And there's still no hope of any of it changing.

I was thinking earlier, and this is probably a boring, old idea, but to me one of the main problems with the idea of nudist resorts is the fact that I'm not looking for a naked vacation - I'm looking for a naked lifestyle. I don't wanna /go/ somewhere to get naked. I want to /be/ naked where I already am - where I live, where I work, and where I play.

The world keeps on turning, but the future still refuses to change...

26 June, 2008

Stormy Nights

6/26/2008 6:15 AM

Tonight was awesome. The past few nights have been a bit chilly, but tonight it stayed relatively warm overnight - in the upper 60's, I believe. I knew there was a storm coming, but it was still dry at around 1-2am, and I was feeling cocky. There was a stretch of street I had scoped out where I thought I could get a good self-portrait, and tonight, that's what I planned to do.

So I got dressed and tossed my camera and tripod into a bag I got as an extra gift from a Gypsy Rose order a while ago. Heading out, I could feel the storm approaching, but it was still dry, and I was feeling confident so I kept going. As it started to rain gradually, I thought of places where I could find some shelter on the way to the spot I was headed for. There's a really nice stone roofed structure at a bus stop (or something) along the local major street, just across from the emergency wing of the hospital. But, overconfident as I was, I passed it and kept going.

I actually walked all the way out to the spot, but by then it had started raining fairly hard - obviously too hard to pull out the camera. And there wasn't as much tree covering on that street as you would think from looking at it. So in desperation, I jogged back a ways to the last intersection, and found a nice evergreen to hide in, behind a row of bushes separating me from the street. I was lucky to find that much tree cover - enough to keep me hidden from the cars passing through the intersection - not that there was any /real/ reason to hide - but it wasn't enough to keep me dry. The bag I had brought wasn't real thick, or particularly good at repelling the rain, but it's a good thing I had /something/ to keep my equipment mostly dry.

I waited for a lull in the downpour, but it kept coming down harder and harder, and I kept getting less and less dry. Finally, after at least half an hour under that tree, the rain let up - slightly. By this point I knew that getting that shot was out of the question, so I headed up the long hill back to that stone roof structure for some more reliable shelter. And after I made it there, it did indeed start raining harder again. So I was still stranded, but at least I wasn't getting any wetter.

Now, if it were just me, I would have just walked on home, not minding the rain so much, but I was concerned about keeping my camera dry, and I didn't know how long that bag was gonna hold up in rain this heavy. So I hung out for a bit. I started thinking about taking some pictures, since I had a roof over me to keep the camera dry. There was a nice view laid out behind the structure, with grass, and the rain lit up by streetlights. I did take a couple shots of just the landscape, but to my disappointment, there was too much activity in the way of cars going past, and in the parking lot of the hospital across the street, that I didn't feel quite safe setting something up. Sigh, oh well.

Here comes the best part. I got tired of waiting for the rain to ease off - it wasn't - and it was starting to get kind of late, so I started accepting the fact that I'd have to walk back in heavy rain. I'd just have to trust the bag to keep my stuff dry. and that's when I decided that I'd walk home naked. It was warm enough, and there's nothing like walking naked in the rain! Beats having heavy clothes dragging you down, that's for sure. I figured, if anybody saw me, then maybe they'd see it that way too and not think it was so strange. At the least, I had the bag to cover the most offending areas in case I felt uncomfortable.

It took me some more time to work up the courage to just do it, but eventually, I undressed in the shadow of the stone arch. Having stood under shelter for a while, my clothes were somewhat dry(ish). At the least, they were damp and not soaked. So I stuffed them in the bag hoping they'd provide some extra buffer between the camera equipment and the rain. I took off my sandals and picked them up, and then proceeded to walk the whole way from the arch across the street from the hospital, back home, completely naked, with only a medium-sized mail-pouch type bag hanging at my side, and my sandals in my hand. It was amazing. And as luck would have it, not a single car passed me!

What an experience. I didn't get the shot I wanted, and it was stupid of me to go out there not expecting to get caught in the storm, but my only regret is forgetting to put in my contacts before I left the house. It was kind of hard to see on the walk home, with my glasses covered in rain drops, and not even a shirt handy to rub them on. But it was still awesome. It felt good to splash my feet in the running puddles, although the road seemed to get rougher closer to home. I started getting a little chilly towards the end of the walk, but it wasn't so bad.

Unloading my things back on the porch, I decided that in lieu of the other shot I wanted to get, this would be a good opportunity to get a good "in the rain" shot. So I set up the tripod in the shelter of the porch and took a bunch of those. Then I went in, practically still dripping, anxious to warm up for a few minutes in the shower. Lucky for me, I had decided on just a quick rinse, because the power went out very shortly after I stepped out of the shower - while I was still drying my hair (initial towel drying - not even the later power dry stage). I can't imagine what I would have done if the power had gone out while I was still in the shower, with no daylight coming through the window to fall back on...

So I lit a candle and listened, but I didn't hear anyone else stirring, so I took the candle out on the porch and sat there with it until it started getting light out (plus I took a few more pictures). It was so beautifully peaceful sitting on that porch with the candle, listening to the rain. I could have easily fallen asleep - the temperature was comfortable, too - not too cool, not too warm. The only thing that could possibly have made life better in that short period of time, would have been sharing it with a beautiful, affectionate woman. Oh well. I can certainly appreciate being alone, too...

With the growing light of dawn came, oddly, a slight chill, so I went inside and pretty much exhausted my ideas for food that didn't require microwaving or toastering. I had a banana, a go-tart (pop-tart in "stick" form, for on-the-go instead of toastering), some chips (tortilla and pizza Pringles), peanut butter and cheese on crackers, and then a small piece of cake. I think it was good enough.

Then it was 6:00, time to hide away before the other denizens of the house wake up, and I put away the candle and flashlight in favor of opening the blinds, since it is now early day. Power's been out for almost three hours, I'd say, now that it's past seven. That's fairly significant. I wonder if it'll come back on in the next hour, or if I'll have to go to sleep without connecting bck to my online existence. I was thinking over breakfast about how we're already plugged into The Matrix - just not as exclusively as in the movie. We all have our personal, individual, electronic entertainment boxes that we retire to - and don't get me wrong, they're great - but it seems like it's separating us from each other, and from real world fun, entertainment, and personal connections...

P.S. When I woke up, the power was still out, but it came back on just before dinner (ironically, just in time for me to blow dry my hair after my regular daily shower). It was out for over 12 hours!

22 June, 2008

Druidic Ritual



Just a couple nights ago, I did a google search and came across a website for a local group of Druids, and it was advertising a summer solstice ritual, free of charge and open to the public. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get some experience in how /other/ neopagans celebrate their spirituality. So I gathered up my courage and went off to meet some pagan strangers in the dark of pre-dawn before the summer solstice sunrise.

The ritual took place on a beautiful hill overlooking the suburban "country"-side, in a park not far at all from where I live. I found the place and arrived at the parking lot still over an hour before sunrise, so it was pretty dark, and there was only one other person there. I felt uncomfortable, because it was just a single woman in a car, and here I was rolling in in the dark of night in a van, and so I tried my best not to act intimidating, which is my usual behavior anyway. I was relieved when cars started flooding in shortly after, and there was a good twenty or so people - druidic hippie types, I guess - for the ritual. I'm pretty sure I was the only newcomer.

We walked up a path through the fields of tall-grass-or-whatever, to the crest of the hill, where the spectacular view unfolded in front of us. I thought it was gonna be more mountain-like, covered in forest, with a ledge overlooking the area - but no, it was a hill, with no trees. Still, you could tell when you were at the top (and not just because of the circle cropped neatly in the tall grass), and the view was no less beautiful.

The moon was shining pretty bright, just a little bit past full, with what I understand was Jupiter shining brightly beside it, still high in the western sky. As the sky gradually brightened, illuminating the world below, you could see the hills and valleys spread out toward the horizon, covered in long columns of morning fog.

Have I mentioned yet what a beautiful view it is? I really have to go back there some day, hopefully on a warmer night, and take in the unfolding view the way I like it best - alone. I wanted to get some amazing pictures, but being caught up in the ritual (as well as not being alone), made that too hard, so I abandoned the idea.

Speaking of the ritual, I was kind of hoping, being a newcomer and all, that I could kind of sit off to the side and just observe. In fact, I wasn't even entirely sure how formal the ritual was gonna be. But it was fairly formal - comfortably formal, and the people were all very friendly, as you would expect of druids - and I guess it would have been a waste (if not an insult) for me to have come but not at the least join in the semicircle.

There was only one point that made me uncomfortable, and that was the part about making an offering to the sun, which just required me to say a few impromptu words. Not too serious, but still, not the sort of thing I'm best at. But I was just trying to accommodate the group and their ritual, you know.

It was very cool, some songs were sung, a lot of very druid-like words were said, a sun beacon was lit up with a spiralling firework, and I think my favorite part was the horn call which sounded very surreal - like actually being transported into the prehistoric past.

But the bottom line is, it was still far too organized for my tastes. In content, it's a far cry from your typical Sunday mass, but in form, very little was different. Sure, we were standing outside on top of a hill, pelted by very un-summer-like winds, waiting for the sun to rise, but ultimately, it still felt more religious than spiritual. There's all this talk about traditions and symbolism. And reading up on this group, they're not hung up on trying to "recreate" ancient rituals as closely as possible - which is good. But any kind of formal ritual like this just feels very insincere to me. I'm not saying that it's insincere to the people who practice it. But I just can't get behind it personally.

I mean, you can talk about making offerings and sacrifices to the sun, and talk to the sun about how you respect it and everything, but the sun doesn't care if you respect it or not. To go to these lengths to show your reverence just to me seems like you're putting on airs. Being there, on that hill, and experiencing that sunrise, is a transcendent experience. That right there is my spirituality. I have absolutely no need to decorate it with words and songs and circles and traditions. I mean, if something came to me, like a song or something, that would be great. That would be inspired. But forcing this experience into a shell - the shell of the ritual - it's just not me.

If it were me, I'd gather my druid friends (this is a hypothetical, of course), and we'd go up and sit on that hill and just chill. We'd take in the experience, without formality. We'd each take in the magic in our own personal ways, without distracting ourselves with a timetable. Granted, part of my discomfort comes from being the stranger, and I'm not trying to ignore that, but I have to say, the formality doesn't much suit me.

Everything having been said, it was quite an experience, and one that I definitely don't regret. I do wish it had been warmer, though. I wasn't anticipating that much cold or wind, and with the dew-soaked grass - let's just say it made it that much harder to stand for like 2 hours going through the ritual, especially during the part where the sun was supposed to rise, and it was like half an hour late because of a fog bank or band of clouds or something on the horizon. But the sun did come out eventually, so that was nice. It could have been totally overcast. But it wasn't.


18 June, 2008

Final Movie Nudity

This is the last of my binge.

Maslin Beach

This was a very entertaining film about a day at an Australian nude beach. It doesn't try to be a masterpiece, but it certainly does succeed at having fun. It follows a number of different groups of people at the beach and explores the theme of love in various contexts, while mixing seriousness with humor (even bordering on parody in at least one case). Many different outlooks are represented, and the nudity is very unselfconcious - this is definitely the most nudist-friendly film I've seen. There's even a character that doesn't get into the nudity thing - she only goes to the beach because her boyfriend likes it, and at one point she explains that she never takes her swimsuit off because she thinks the body is private, to be shown only to someone special. That seems to be a popular viewpoint among people, although I don't really see the point of it.

Near the beginning of the film, when this particular couple arrives at the beach, the guy says that it must be the most beautiful place in the world, and the girl responds, "it's just a beach, full of lumpy nude bodies and pervy men." And she's only partly right. The film certainly doesn't avoid sexuality, which is a good thing since it spends so much time exploring the concept of love, but it absolutely succeeds at keeping the nudity independent of the sexuality - but without having to explicitly keep them separate, which is a problem that some overprotective nudists have. As for the type of bodies represented in this film, there's a healthy variety, from lumpy to well-shaped, male and female, just like real life.

I'd definitely recommend this film to any and all nudists, anyone who might be interested or curious about nudism, or anyone who wants to understand a little better what nudism is like or about, for example if they know someone who's a nudist but don't quite get why. But you don't have to be a nudist to enjoy this film - provided you don't mind the naked people, I would also recommend this movie to anyone who's looking for an entertaining story that examines the meaning of love, set on a beautiful beach in Australia.

La Belle Noiseuse

This is a one-of-a-kind film. French, if you didn't get that from the title (roughly translated - The Beautiful Troublemaker). The plot is this - a young artist persuades his girlfriend to be the model for a master artist in the hope that it will get the master out of his creative slump. The girlfriend is reluctant at first, and knowing that she'll have to pose naked, she basically considers her boyfriend to have sold her body to the master, but she reluctantly accepts the challenge. Over time, she becomes more committed to the project, but when the piece is finished, she realizes that she wasn't prepared to face the truth of her soul/personality that the master was able to bring out onto the canvas. I have to admit the ending was kind of confusing without a bit of afterthought, compounded by the fact that you never actually see the masterpiece - presumably because creating the sort of masterpiece it is depicted as would be impossible, although possibly also because it's supposed to be this "unknown masterpiece" that nobody has ever seen.

It's a 4 hour film. Although, expecting this, I didn't feel that it was overlong. Just know what you're getting into when you decide to watch it. What this allows for, though, is long scenes between the artist and his model, that feel very realistic. You get to watch as the artist sketches lines on his pad, and they slowly form into a figure - very fascinating. And you get a real feel for the kind of work it is for the model to hold a pose for so long. The nudity is almost completely non-sexual in this context, as expected - indeed, it's almost as if the artist doesn't see a naked person, but merely the lines and contours of the flesh. And though the model is very selfconcious about posing nude at first, she gradually gets more comfortable being naked. Although she never quite becomes a nudist, and my expectations of her being liberated by her very personal experience with art are kind of shattered by her ultimate reaction to the final piece and its effect on her. I can't say that it's a negative effect, because though she is disgusted with what she sees, you can at least view it as a positive that she has been faced with that truth and is better equipped to deal with it in the future. But it's not the happy ending you might expect, which in itself is refreshing, even if it leaves you with a slightly bitter feeling.

Anyway, amazing depiction of the process of art, like I've never seen in a film before. If you have any interest in sketching, painting, or posing - nude or otherwise - I'd say this film is worth a look. Or if you like debating about art-related philosophical topics like what does it take to create a masterpiece, can art change a person's life, how do you capture the total essence of a person in a single portrait, and things of that nature, this film raises the questions and offers some possible answers to consider. One of my favorite moments was partway into the modeling process, after the master has painted a number of duds, and in a flash he sees part of the model's actual personality, and he says "Now I'm beginning to see you. Just beginning." And this is considering that she's been standing there naked for hours.

16 June, 2008

Guild Wars

Considering how much time I've been spending playing Guild Wars in the last few weeks, it's remarkable that I haven't mentioned it in an entry here, except once in passing. Though part of that, at least from the beginning, was that I wasn't ready to even admit that I played the game, for reasons which will soon become obvious, if they are not already. Another likely part of that is the fact that if you don't play Guild Wars, you'll probably have very little interest hearing about the details of it, so what's the point, right?

Guild Wars is a multiplayer online RPG. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am staunchly against the MMORPG scene, and wouldn't be caught dead playing games like Everquest, or World of Warcraft. Which is why I was so hesitant to give it a try in the first place - lest I be labeled a hypocrite. But my friend recommended it, and he assured me that it was sufficiently different from the standard MMORPG fare that I could enjoy it. I'm not exactly experienced in these types of games, but one of the differences is that Guild Wars has no monthly fee. Buy the game, and you can play it as much as you want without paying another penny. That's a plus.

One other difference, I suppose, is that the multiplayer aspects of the game are subdued in a certain sense, taking out the first M in MMORPG. What this means to me, is that I can effectively play the game by myself and ignore the whole multiplayer thing - without having other people butting in and ruining my fun. In theory. It worked out nice at first, since my friend, who got me into the game, took the time to show me the ropes and play through I guess about half the game or so with me. But ever since he left me on my own (whether intentionally or not) to fend for myself within this fantasy world, and especially in the second half of the game, I'm finding out how utterly impossible some parts of this game are if you don't play with other human players.

The way the game works is that there are areas to explore, quests to complete, and missions to conquer. Exploring is fun, and gets you access to new places, while quests add subplot to the game and give you experience and skills to play with. But the missions are what drive the story, and push you forward in the game.

Now, you can form a party - because fighting against monsters all by yourself is a really bad idea, unless you're really cocky and fighting monsters much weaker than you are. You can choose to join up with other human players (the multiplayer aspect), or you can add "henchmen" to your party, which are just standardized AI bot characters. The problem with henchmen in a tough mission, is that they are only so strong, only so smart, they can't specialize their strategies for a specific mission, and there's only so much you can do to control their actions. There's just no comparison to having [supposedly] intelligent real human players behind the other members in your party.

And that's what really bugs me, because it's like a thorn in my side that keeps whispering to me, "you can't play this game alone!"

I probably would have given the game up a little ways back, after I was left on my own, but the one thing that's keeping me going (other than the plain old addiction factor), is how much I like my characters and how much I want to customize them and give them better equipment from later in the game to make them even better. But every time I lose on a tough mission, I feel the frustration of not being able to advance further in the game until I overcome this hurdle - and the only way I can see to do it is to bite the bullet and be a ::shivers:: social player...

Come to think of it, one of my beefs with MMORPG's is how people that play it get so absorbed that they play to the exclusion of the real world around them, and ignore the real people around them that want to spend time with them. But considering how small of a real world presence I currently maintain, I guess it can't hurt that much for me right now... 

15 June, 2008

Speaking of Nudity...

It's wonderfully foggy out tonight. Pretty thick, too - not incredibly thick, but certainly remarkably thick. The ground and trees are damp from thunderstorms, but the only rain is what comes off the trees. The temperature is nice - cool, but comfortable. Anyhow, in an awesome fog like this, I had to go out there.

And I ended up expanding my boundaries, too. I went out in just that blanket, with my camera - tugging the tripod along in its most compact state, which isn't all that compact - all the way out to the main thoroughfare, stopping at just a couple places that looked safe enough to snap a shot of the beautiful fog lit up by the various street and house lights. It was gorgeous.

Coming back, I decided to take advantage of the foggy conditions. I left my blanket and camera on the porch, and took a walk around the block completely naked. Yup, the whole way round. There was even a number of house lights on, but I hope most of the people were asleep anyway. I just acted natural, as if it was no big deal. I was thinking about it, and I figured that if somebody did catch me, then my long hair - a disadvantage because it makes me easy to recognize - might actually work to my advantage since it would give credibility to my characterization as a free spirit who enjoys nude walks instead of some kind of perverted sexual predator...

There were no cars either, which was great. I was mentally prepared (as much as I could be) just in case a car did go past, but I was lucky and didn't have to deal with it. Admittedly, I was a little concerned that the thrill of the experience would cause me to get visually "excited", basically ruining any credibility that my intentions were innocent, but to be honest, I was either too nervous or too relaxed throughout the whole walk for it to even be an issue.

There was only one spot that concerned me. There's a house on the corner, which just so happens to have a bright streetlight just out in front of it, and somebody was awake watching TV with the windows open. I heard them cough, but there was no indication that they actually saw me walk past the house. I went by as casually as I could, as if there were nothing unusual about my state of (un)dress, just taking a nice walk out in the nighttime fog, and made a point not to look towards the window, so I'm not certain whether or not the person inside could have even seen me without getting up or something. I'd have been less concerned if I was walking through the dark, but with that streetlight illuminating me - I even knocked a pebble a little bit as I was walking past, and you can bet I was kicking myself in my head (doing it mentally, not actually kicking my head) because of it!

The part that bothers me even more, is that the night I went out and took a couple pictures under the streetlight not too long ago, there was also a person in that house awake and watching TV (likely the same person, but who knows for sure), and I heard them cough then too. I was halfway sure they had seen me posing for my camera, but I have no way of knowing for sure. I was beyond a bush when I heard the cough, and at that point I just started walking away. So who knows. But now I'm very wary of that house, since it wasn't just a one-time thing.

Anyway, it was a great experience. I kind of got lost in the moment and went and rolled around in the wet grass after the walking was done. My feet are pretty sore, after walking over so much concrete... But they'll survive. The fog sure was beautiful. I really wish I could just go out and not have to worry that I may be doing something illegal...

P.S. I just remembered, everytime I sniffled my nose out there, I got a taste of lakewater. Weird, I know, but the sensation very much reminded me of swimming in the lake from my childhood vacations, when I would get some water up my nose...

14 June, 2008

Yet More Movie Nudity

The Dreamers

Awesome film that doesn't demean its brilliance just because of the sexual nature of its plot. This is basically a story about the 60's, except it's not California - it's Paris, France, and it occurs during the 1968 riots in Paris. You can look it up if you want more historical context, but I didn't know what the riots were about, and it didn't much matter, because the brunt of the story focuses on three characters who are pretty much oblivious to what's going on out in the streets outside their house, until the point at which they can no longer ignore it.

But the spirit of the sixties is here in full swing. Peace, protest, and free love are all in there. And the absolutely amazing soundtrack centers on some scorching sections from Jimi Hendrix and Big Brother & The Holding Company (with Janis Joplin, of course), with even a Doors tune thrown in. There's even a pivotal scene where one character sings a line from Hey Joe, as the song plays on the record player.

But what's the story about? Well, it's a personal story about three young college-age people. An American student/cinema buff meets up with a pair of French twins (brother/sister) who share a lot of the same interests. They get real close real fast, and when the parents leave on a trip, the three of them live it out in the apartment, loose and free. There's some tension, because the twins are "joined at the hip", as they say (no, not literally), and the American student understands that they need to grow up and mature and the only way to do that is to split them apart, so they can learn to have some individuality or something. It's complicated. But that's where the drama comes in.

Great movie. There's even a scene where the two guys argue about whether Clapton or Hendrix is better. There's also a lot of talk about classic cinema, as the characters are all cinema buffs, and the director himself (Bernardo Bertolucci) is a cinema buff who was there in Paris during the riots depicted in this film, and a part of the real cinema scene that the characters in the film are a part of.

I love it because this film is high quality /and/ sexually liberated. There's a great scene where the guy and girl have sex on the kitchen floor, for the first time, and the other guy (the brother) is making eggs on the stove, casually. It's all very real. The characters spend a good amount of time all or partly naked, too, and sometimes it's sexual, and sometimes it's not - which is what real life should be like.

I recommend this movie highly, if any of what I discussed here interests you.

9 Songs

I like the idea of this film. It's a story about the progression of a relationship (focusing on sexual encounters) interspersed with 9 live rock(ish) performances the way they would look if you were standing in the audience with a video camera. The problem is that the music is very uninteresting to me, and the girl was kind of a bitch.

The reason people are talking about this film is because the sex is not only explicit, but unsimulated - indeed, you see enough that they couldn't possibly be faking it. Some people argue that that fact alone makes it a porno, and other people argue the film's integrity for taking such an approach while still maintaining some sense of a coherent, artistic story.

The bottom line is, I think this film has some good ideas, but it's far (far far far) from the visionary masterpiece that some people are claiming it to be. I like how real it is - not just the sex but the interactions between the two characters and the concert scenes. But it's the content that leaves something to be desired.

Plenty of nudity for those who are looking - including things you'd normally only expect to see in a porno. But then again, there's plenty of sex, and most if not all of the nudity is sex-related. The couple actually get into some kinky stuff, including a little S&M, but it's not always terribly exciting. One thing I did like is how after they had sex one of the times, the girl stayed naked and walked around a bit. It's always bugged me when after a sex scene the girl gets dressed real quick, even while holding the covers over her body... You're naked, enjoy it, stay that way for awhile! Get up, walk around, quit being such a prude! Although, in those cases, I'll bet the only reason they get dressed so fast is because it's a movie and they can't afford to push the censors by having the characters walking around naked after the sex is done...

10 June, 2008

More Movie Nudity

The Loss of Sexual Innocence

This is a breathtaking arthouse-style film with beautiful filmography, that weaves through a handful of nonlinear stories that may or may not depict different stages of one person's life (not everything that happens is clearly explained - but it's the impact it has on you that matters) - but each story deals with the concept of losing one's sexual innocence, in different senses during different periods of one's life, and the feeling of guilt that sometimes accompanies such experiences.

This film is truly a beautiful piece of work, and I recommend it highly. There are a wealth of emotional scenes, and the film's climax totally blew me away. The nudity mostly comes in during the one story which depicts the fable of the Garden of Eden - in a sense the most basic and original loss of sexual innocence. Adam and Eve emerge from some sort of pond, and then spend some time happily and innocently exploring the world around them, completely naked, with the wonder of newborn children, before finally happening on a bush with a snake in it. After eating the fruit from the bush, as expected, their sexual drive is awakened, and after exploring it adequately, there is a powerful scene in which the couple are driven out of the garden in pouring rain by fascists and their dogs, and then forced to put on clothes in front of a ravenous paparazzi.

Like I said, it's a beautiful, amazing film.

Sirens

This was an entertaining film co-starring Sam "Dr. Alan Grant" Neill as the liberated Australian painter Norman Lindsay, set back in the first half of the last century. A young, uptight, Christian, bourgeois couple are asked to visit the artist in an attempt to persuade him to choose some more appropriate pieces for an exhibition in some museum/art gallery in England. Among the pieces originally chosen and deemed "vulgar" by the uptight authorities is a beautiful painting depicting the figure of Venus being crucified.

It turns out that Norman Lindsay is a deliciously free thinker, and has no qualms about nudity and sexuality, and is in fact quite averse to traditional Christian philosophy. In fact, there are three beautiful models living on his estate in Australia, and they regularly pose nude for the artist. Well, you can imagine the amusing situations that develop between the uptight couple and the liberated "bohemians" - but it's not all fun and games. The wife undergoes a major transformation as she discovers a new kind of freedom and becomes, to a degree, sexually liberated.

It's all very inspiring, and there are some beautiful dreamlike sequences. The nudity isn't /too/ major, but there are a number of scenes here and there where the girls (and even one of the guys) will take their clothes off, mostly in the art studio to pose, or down by the creek, and although the film does explore the concept of sexuality, I'd say that most of the nudity works in a nonsexual context, which, again, is refreshing. Additionally, there are a few scenes where the artist and the bourgeois argue about how harmful nudity and sexuality really is, and whether society is really going to hell in a handbasket, and lots of good philosophy like that.

It's a good movie, and I recommend it. It was entertaining, and despite the weight of the issues it deals with, it comes off feeling rather light, but not like the experience was insignificant. And the transformation of the one woman from uptight prude to free spirit is fascinating to witness.

Lie With Me

I tacked this title on to my buy list on a whim. It's the story of a nympho who learns to love (as opposed to, you know, just fucking). The best way I can describe it is that it feels like a porno for chicks. Like something you'd expect to see on Lifetime After Dark, if such a thing existed. The lead actress /was/ pretty hot, if slutty, and there was plenty of sex, but some of the sexiest scenes were ruined by either emotional melodrama, or too much manflesh...

08 June, 2008

Burning Man Checklist

I meant to do this in February, so now that it's June, I better get on the ball.

Transportation
- Rental Car
- Travel Plans
- Bicycle
Food
- Water (1.5 gallons per day per person is the rule)
- Food (that can survive harsh conditions for more than a week without going bad)
- Non-water beverages?
Clothing
- Sand goggles, sand mask?
- Hat?
- Sunglasses?
- warm weather clothes
- cool weather clothes (the desert can get chilly in the evening)
Shelter
- Tent
- Shade structure?
- Sun umbrella?
Other
- Sunscreen (and lots of it)
- Bag to carry around and hold important stuff
- trash bags
- toilet paper (one ply) (in case the facilities run out - can also be used as general purpose tissues)
- towel/s?
- soap? other cleansing products?
- journal
- camera(s), with batteries
- ???

It'll be a miracle if this trip works...

06 June, 2008

Movie Nudity

Recently on the nudist forum I mentioned once before, a discussion emerged about the best nude performance in a movie. Unsurprisingly, a lot of foreign titles were considered. Since this is just the sort of thing I've been looking for, I kind of went on a binge and ordered a bunch of these movies...

The first of them is a film called Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, starring Nicole Kidman. It seems that Diane (Dee, not Die) Arbus was a pretty influential photographer somewhere in the middle of the last century, and she was known for photographing strange and freaky people, and bringing to them a sort of humanity that people might be quick to deny them.

Fur is a fictional - but compelling - biography about "what might have been" the steps that led Diane to realize her artistic vision and step out of the traditional housewife role. It focuses around her fascination with a "circus freak" - the wolfman type who uncontrollably grows hair all over his body - who turns out to be quite an enchanting character (played by Robert Downey Jr.), after he moves in upstairs. It's a very touching drama, and beyond that, it's a great exploration of the kind of dedication an artist needs to step away from convention and not back down on their singular artistic vision. I recommend it.

And for the curious, the nudity-related scenes bookend the film, in which the character of Diane visits a nudist resort (nudists being part of that fringe element that fascinates her) - and they don't shy away from the scenery, though the scenes are pretty short. It's certainly not the kind of "hot" nudity you expect in a film - the kind that's always accompanied by sexuality - and for that alone it's refreshing. It's also simply interesting to get even a brief glimpse of what a populated nudist resort might look like.

The second film in my binge is an interesting French-directed film titled Quest For Fire. It really is remarkable. It's a story based 80,000 years ago, about a hominid clan's adventure to recapture the secret of fire, and the dangers they face - including animals (the sabre-tooth tigers and woolly mammoths have to be seen to be believed!), as well as other more and less advanced hominid tribes. The languages used are all invented primitive languages, and there are no subtitles - the point is that you can figure out what they're saying pretty much from the body language (it's not like their conversations are very complex, anyway).

Unlike some other novelty attempts at prehistoric drama that may or may not have been made, this film is really well-done, and a lot of work went into it. It doesn't shy away from adult themes, and the content ranges all the way from humour to drama - you can laugh at a scene here or there without it degrading the seriousness of the story. Considering the setting, it's probably not really like any other movies you've seen, but I very much recommend it. The only comparison I can make is to the first section of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but remove the Monolith, and add a TON of story. You get so into it that when the lead journeyman witnesses the secret to creating fire on his own, it brings a tear of wonder to your eye.

As for the nudity, this movie is also refreshing in that, though most of the hominids are mostly covered, either in thick hair or fur pelts, depending on the clan/species, in certain cases where they're jumping around fighting and whatnot, there's an obvious lack of an attempt to cover up anything and everything that might offend - not to say that there's anything there that should offend any reasonable person. But the real splendor comes in the form of the female lead, actress Rae Dawn Chong, who spends most of her on-screen time naked from head to toe, though covered in body paint (tribal patterns). Now there's a refreshing sight, if I ever saw one.

As for the rest of the titles in my binge, I have yet to watch them.

Naked Vulnerability (and stuff)

This is an issue that I almost brought up once before, in an entry I ended up scrapping. But the idea came back to me tonight.

In a way, being naked brings a reality to my fears. I'm afraid of people. I'm afraid of people knowing what I'm doing, because I'm certain they'll judge me for it, and might possibly disapprove, or suggest something else, or even actively get in my way. I try to keep things secret, partly to keep them from being compromised, I guess, but moreso because I'm simply afraid of people judging them, because that allows for the potential of disapproval, which is something that hurts me, even when I'm only imagining it.

Anyway, in normal situations, I try to hide myself from people, and it's purely because of inner, mental reasons. But when I'm naked, I have a more immediate reason to keep myself hidden. I have a pretty good feeling that being seen naked, especially by unsuspecting strangers, will only fare poorly for me. So it's almost like getting naked gives me a solid, substantial reason to feel the vulnerability that I feel anyway. It's like it validates my cautious behavior.

I just want to make the point here that this is not the /reason/ I get naked. I get naked because I like being naked. It's just that I've noticed a sort of correlation between the vulnerability that being naked in this society brings, and the psychological vulnerability that I usually feel.


I think I've probably mentioned my distaste for the suburban warrens before. There are relatively small plots of land, each belonging to a different person/family, each with a house where they live, and each right smack up against its neighbors. The only public land between them is the streets, which are not especially wide, and do not especially create much space for hiding oneself from the private plots of land on either side, and on down the road. In other words, there's nowhere to go where you can be away from the eyes of strangers, short of being behind the walls on your own private plot of land. There are no large stretches of public/unclaimed land. Even the parks in this area are so small that you're lucky to find a spot that's not within a stone's throw (let alone visual distance) from a row of houses.

And the trouble with public property is that it's not neutral. It's owned by the social government. Police are on regular patrol to make sure nobody uses it in any way that hasn't been condoned, in one way or another, by the general populus. If you want to engage in some kind of activity that doesn't sit well with the general populus, you have to steal back some of that land for private use. It's a hell of an inconvenience, and it makes it incredibly hard for some unaverage Joe to just go out and live his eccentric life without being hounded by the Code of Standards Patrol simply for being different, for being an outcast, for wanting to live a different life than what he was prescribed.

Freedom. The land of the free. I realized today that the American Dream is Revolution. Simple as that. It's the fight against corruption. Following the heart out of bondage and into a new world where your personal rules are law. Some country we've got now. Who the hell came up with the idea of morals anyway?

I just want to burn it all away. All these chains and things. The inhibition that keeps me locked up in my own mind. I want to just be me, and live my life the way I want to, and say fuck you to the police, and kick them in the crotch if they get in my way. I never agreed to be governed by other people. I don't recall signing a contract that says I will submit to the will of others, and abide by their morals and standards. Whose life am I living, anyway? So far, it hasn't been my own. I'm the one that's got to go when it's my time to die. So let me live my life the way I want to.

I just can't stand this waiting. This wondering and worrying. Hiding. I don't wanna spend my whole life hesitating. I gotta let loose and shame the devil.

01 June, 2008

If You Don't Vote, Then Don't Complain

Obviously, I strongly disagree with this statement. Well, maybe it's not so obvious to you. But being a non-voter who is inclined to complain about the way things are, it reasonably follows that I would disagree with that statement. There's this really perverse notion in this country - this pro-voting hysteria - that suggests that a person who chooses not to vote is also choosing to give up certain of his rights. Like the right to voice his opinion, for one thing. "If you really gave a damn, you'd vote. Since you don't vote, then you're all talk. You're a hypocrite. You're wasting our time." Bullshit.

Okay, so this country is supposed to be run by a democracy, or something similar to a democracy. By the people, for the people, of the people, all of that stuff. But I'm afraid it's not that simple. There are people, and there are persons, and frequently the people trample the persons. But the reason that this is a problem, is because not one of us is a people; no, each and every one of us is a person, and each of every one of us is getting trampled by the people. Luckily for the majority, they are persons that most closely resemble the people, and so the damage done to them is considerably less. But for the minority persons out there, it's a nightmare.

I've explained this philosophy before. What I wanted to say was, the idea of a democracy is that every person gets a say in the governing body. Politicians do the governing, and it's our votes as citizens that represent our participation in that governing. It's a representative sort of thing. But that's exactly where the "democracy" part fails. How the fuck am I supposed to get my voice heard in the governing body, when I'm in the minority? We're running on a popular vote system here. The minority will ALWAYS lose. It doesn't matter if every single minority voted for their cause, the majority will STILL trump them. Voting is a meaningless exercise in this context.

Take Code Geass. Suzaku and Lelouch both want the same things - a peaceful world where people are treated with respect. At least I think that's what Suzaku actually wants, sometimes it's hard to tell through his hypocritical actions. Anyhow, the difference in their two methods is key. Suzaku wants to work within the system, but what Lelouch understands that Suzaku fails to see, is that Britannia itself is corrupt. As long as Britannia remains in power, Suzaku and Lelouch's goal will never be completed. That's why Lelouch is determined to fight and overcome Britannia, to install his own better plan for the world. Suzaku can spend his entire life working within the Britannian system, getting promotions here, overturning rules and bylaws there, but he will never accomplish that goal, because Britannia is Britannia.

Aiming back at the democracy thing, and the American Empire, voting only encourages them. The greatest thing you can do is to not vote. Imagine the result if a record number of people simply did not vote. Do you think it would mean that all those people simply don't care? Of course they care. It would be a powerful wake-up call to the people in charge, a huge message of "this isn't working, and we refuse to continue to take part in it."

Am I implying that the American government is so corrupt that it needs to be overthrown? Perhaps, but I don't necessarily feel that strongly about it. This is just an example. I am only a minority, and no matter what my opinions are, it won't make a difference, because I'll always be drowned out by the voice of the majority. So it doesn't really matter what I think or say. But my ultimate point is, voting does nothing for me. Whether I vote for Candidate A or for Candidate B, it's not gonna change my life or my world in the way that I want to see it change. When faced with two evils, I refuse to willfully choose either one. I don't support evil. (Keep in mind that there's a HUGE difference between what I consider to be evil, and what the majority labels as "evil") . Does this mean I have no right to complain about that evil? Ridiculous.

I don't vote, but don't take that as a sign that I don't care enough to speak out. Quite the contrary - my willful choice not to vote is the loudest call I can think to make to profess my personal feelings about the issue.

Mostly Harmless

The idea is to write more entries, but make a point to make them shorter entries. Less commitment means more committing. Though there's no guarantee that I'll continue liking the idea. Besides, if this interface continues to bug me, I might lose even that much interest.

I just now finished the complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, including all five volumes of the story. The style of the humour at times was a little too zany for my tastes, but some of the issues approached were dealt with in entertaining ways. Basically, it sort of makes light of the Universe, and in some cases I resent that, but in others, I respect it, because it's almost like a warning to people who take things too seriously to lighten up and relax and just enjoy the world the way it is. Or something like that. I also liked how seeds were planted for certain developments that were revisited in their maturity later on, like the whole Stavromula Beta thing.

Of the five volumes, I think I enjoyed So Long And Thanks For All The Fish the best. Ironically, it's the one that spends most of its time on the Earth. Though I think the reason I liked it more than the other volumes has more to do with the sort of love story aspect it included. Gee, that sounds so sappy. Ah well, I think Fenchurch was particularly charming, and it's kind of a shame what ultimately happened to her...

I also liked best the ending to that volume. Marvin was probably my favorite character in the series, with his darkly realistic view of the Universe, and I thought he had a most fitting end. I never understood why they call him the Paranoid Android though, as he just seems to be terminally depressed, and not especially paranoid, except in a general sense.

What also interested me was how the danger in each volume seemed to escalate, from the doom of Earth, to the doom of the whole Universe, from inconsistencies in time, to inconsistencies in probability/parallel Universes. And I liked how the end of the final volume tied right back into how the first volume started. Nothing like a job good and done.