At 3am friday night (actually saturday morning), I sat in my kitchen over a Camapri over ice listeneing to “Bootylicious” for the thrid time, and I heard drunk, 95-lb. Macki call out from my closet-turned-office, “hey, how do you get this thing into ‘terminal’?” I knew I was in trouble.

Well, maybe not total trouble, but when you have a guy on your computer that likes to do this, that and the other thing totally wasted from the Webzine 2005 launch party careening around on your porn-soaked hard drive with a snappy connection, things could get… erm, interesting. That night had started out as getting chalked up to be a total loss. Another email from Jonno about evacuations and power outages, and no guest editor relief in sight for us on the blog, then silence… did he lose power? Did he have to leave? Could it hurt anymore to remember what it’s like to be homeless? I am physically unable to fall asleep with my shoes on, or anything on my feet, still, to this day. My friend was having a birthday beach bonfire, and there was a sex party that might’ve had me wrapped in rubber and in a cab by ten, but the gulf between my heart and my head was dark, yawning, too open to be out and about. I was staying home.

But then Macki called me. Most people don’t call me anymore because I never answer my phone — too many publicists over the years have given out my phone number, and truth be told, I prefer the accuracy of email conversations. But I bought myself a new phone for my birthday — one of the new iTunes phones — and was back into looking at the phone when it rang. (ringtone: “Dontcha”) My former phone was the first cell phone I’d ever owned and was quite old; having survived several SRL shows it literally fell into pieces when I unwrapped the electrical tape to remove the sim card.

Macki was at the party, down the street from my house, was tipsy, and not letting me off the hook. “Um, there’s a lot of *guys* here. I think they’re all *computer geeks*. I think you’ll be safe.” Walking up to the bar, I couldn’t find him. But then again, he really is tiny; this is the guy who had a party when he turned 100 (pounds). Me, on the phone: Macki, I can’t see you. You’re too small. Macki: I’ll take my dick out. Me: Ohmigawd a redwood tree just sprouted on Market Street.

Out front we were met by Jake, who I had only met briefly before, never enough to have a conversation. I was happy to see Jake, and when I was told the list was closed (we were supposed to be on it), I managed to talk the doorman into 2-for-1 cover price and paid Jake’s way in because he said he was broke. But then in return he bought me a cosmo, and one for Macki too, who totally did not need one and told me gleefully that it would make him barf everywhere after he drank it.

So we got smashed; Macki hung on me a lot and sneakily kissed my shoulder a few times when I wasn’t paying attention, and I hauled him out of there to retrofit his bite-sized self onto my couch at about 2am. We stayed up taking about relationships and friends, and when I expressed nervousness about being on two Webzine panels the next day, he’d wisely change the subject. Me: Should I do anything to prepare? Macki: Hell no. Let’s see if the photos from tonight’s party are up on Laughing Squid yet!

We passed out and woke up late: the plan was to get up, get breakfast on the way to Webzine and be there by one for Jake’s presentation. I was to be on the 18 and Over panel at three, and breaking the rules, had been happily invited to be on the Podcasting panel at 4. Which sunk me into a hair and makeup panic — this wasn’t just me dragging my hungover bootie (and Macki’s and Hornboy‘s) to a bloody mary brunch; this was eat, be smart, be onstage, get pictures taken, wind up on the web instantly… All three of us opted for bagles and coffee from the freezer while I applied glitter and hot rollers. And slid on the sock garters, of course.

We got there, found Jake. How are you, I asked. “My presentation is so fucked, I’m so screwed,” he laughed. Apparently there was a technical difficulty, though I’m fairly sure it got repaired and Jake went on. Hornboy and I sat in the balcony; I wasn’t sure what to expect; at this conference it seemed like there were a lot of tech elite and hackers of many stripes, bloggers and people generally interested in the cutting edge of tech and free expression; bloggers’ rights and the whole lot. There were also a good number of tinfoil-hat tech types, and the usual gross self-promoters trying to get their ‘brand’ into as many ‘markets’ as possible; the sort of human spam I always find at every tech or computer gathering. I generally felt like I didn’t belong, but was at least among a few friends.

Up on the scree: a photo of track marks; abscessed needle holes. The familiar roadmap of a painful life seeking comfort as tattooed on skin vis the puncture of a needle. For me, a reminder of growing up; also the obituary I wrote for Eva Lux on my birthday. Jake explained that it was his father. each slide showed his father’s decline to death, here in San Francisco; like the junkies you pass on 5th and Market when you come to see our beautiful downtown cable car turnaround. Jake had documented his father’s slide into death, hastened by squatters who injected him with bacteria that killed him. Jake showed the photos he took of the evidence the SFPD destroyed.*

He told us went to Iraq to die. Actually, “To come back whole or full of holes.” He showed us the photos and told us his story.*

He continued with talking about his trip to NOLA where he said he brought internet to the people suffering there.*

I went on next for the 18 and Over panel; which was supposed to be about the 2257 laws; the crowd was restless, even though we opened with a stellar presentation on the realities of these laws by Jason Schultz; how they affect everyone (not just sex and porn people), and how they’re totally not effective in preventing the “reason” they’re being passed — child porn. Hopefully I can persuade Jason to put this online… But then the panel took a few left turns, as these things always seem to do. You know, I was on a panel about bloggers’ rights for the EFF a while back that did the same thing; people on the panel were so fucking into themselves and their brands and their self-promotion and personal genda that we didn’t fucking talk about anything that mattered. Which was pretty much what happened, especially when the Lavender Lounge guy took over the mike (repeatedly) and gave his (incorrect) history of censorship and politics, and his (incorrect) perspective on 2257 laws. An example was that he stated that 2257 means that if you put a nude sex picture from the (OLD) film Blue Lagoon on your blog, you could be prosecuted under 2257 for not having the correct info about the actors. Which is totally wrong; for starters, the 2257 regulations only extend back to pictures produced after July 3, 1995.

Hey, I’m just saying. But then some woman from the audience, wearing an AdBrite shirt and maybe a tinfoil bra told us how she thought 2257 was important to protect us from child porn.

And I realized that no one was paying attention anyway.

Next up was the Podcasting panel, with my new favorite podcaster on it, DailySonic. The moderator was loud and lively, though when he read the bio for the woman on my left, she leaned over and whispered, “Uh, that last part isn’t me.” I wondered whose bio he was actually reading. Then the moderator asked a variety of questions to different panelists on topics specific to their areas of podcasting; when he got to me it was (of course) an iTunes question. But before I had a chance to speak on my own in the panel, he prefaced his question with “I’ve been to your website. And you have some really nice breasts.”


I’m pretty sure the auditorium went quiet, except for the roaring in my ears and the pounding in my chest. I wasn’t quite sure what to do next. I mean, what if you were speaking in front of a crowd of friends, peers and professionals you might want to impress a little bit about the fact that you’re a woman (one of the first on PodcastAlley, thank you very much) and your topic is sex and you have a brain, and aren’t we all pretty much on the same page about this because we’re all in this room…? Okay, you’re not me but what if you were on a panel at a tech conference and the moderator asked your first question after mentioning you had a nice uncut dick? Or alluded that he’d seen naked pictures of you and got turned on by them, oh, and what was that thing that got you well known for that tech thing you do?

I think about stuff like this all the time, of course. I walk a line in this culture by posting intelligent opinions on sex and culture and showing you pictures of myself naked. But I also know that most of you are pretty fucking sophisitcated and know that if you go into a liquor store to buy a copy of Hustler to take home and jack off to, it does not mean the girl who rang you up is the same as the girls in the magazine she’s selling you and it’s not okay to comment on her breasts.

I was taken out to coffee a couple of weeks ago by the programming director at NPR. He wanted to talk to me about podcasting, my show and where I think this is all headed. he was here from New York to meet with other radio and podcast content people; I might have been the only podcaster he took time out to meet one on one, in person. He told me no trip to San Francisco would be right unless he got a chance to meet me. One of the questions he asked me was if I got weird emails or if there were inappropriate listeners. And the really interesting answer I gave him, and the truth is, no. I never get emails from rude men, or scary emails or fucked up or insulting comments. The only rude email I’ve ever gotten and subsequent mean blog post (on his blog when I didn’t reply fast enough) was from Ian Kerner, who is, by the way, a giant sized, homphobic douchebag. I know, you’re like, who? No, the people who like my podcast and my blog, and who read my books and contact me are across the board tech-savvy, well-read, polite, extremely nice, usually very funny, totally helpful and I’ve formed many friendships over the years based on “fan mail”. The only odd exception was the marriage proposal form the 400-lb Elvis impersonator, but that’s another story…

So, back on the moment time stopped on the panel, I thought about the comment for a minute. I really wanted to just get up and leave. I think I could have. But I wanted to answer the iTunes question, and I felt I really needed to represent as a non-commercial podcaster on the panel (was I the only one?). So I answered. And predictably, someone else whose tinfoil garment made it through the tinfoil-detector at the door felt the need to use the Q and A to accuse me of “cheapening” the word censorship in reference to what happened with my podcast and iTunes (which is *so* ancient history now). I, in fact, never said they censored me on the panel at any time, but that was so not the guy’s point. I did mention that someone at Apple emailed me to tell me that people there think that I “rock”. I told the guy as politely as I could that his issues were with the media spin on the whole situaiton, but he still thoguht I was “cheapening” the concept of censorship with my podcast, so I resigned myself to images of the moderator and tin hat dude being pulverized by my favorite SRL machines. You know, the ones I work on, operate and fix, even though my boobies are like totally on my chest all the time. I didn’t even bother mentioning the time Focus on the Family campaigned to get my books banned.

After the panel, I had the pleasure of running straight into David Pescovitz’s arms, which is a pretty nice place to land. Jake came after me and attched himself to me physically. Jake persuaded all of us (me, Macki, Hornboy) to stay and listen to Phillip from Make Magazine, who gave the coolest and most amazing presentation ever, and then Michael Shiloh‘s all-too-brief talk about his ultra-cool server controlled robot.

It was one of those times where a group of people forms, and we don’t want to make a move without planning on when to see each other again. My trio came back to my place for a disco nap, then over to Jake’s house where a whole bunch of really people drank beer, talked tech, listened to Jake’s comparisons of Iraq and NOLA and we watched some of Jake’s videos — one in which he interviews an Iraqi sniper.* Then the industrial pallet wrap came out — I don’t remember how it came up, but the next thing I knew… this really pretty girl was naked, except for her piercings and black socks, and we wrapped her in saran wrap. She really wanted to try it; it looked really fun and incredibly sexy. She had the prettiest little A-cup breasts, with big pink fluffy nipples, and she’d just waxed her pussy so it was bare and puffy; also very hot. The vibe in the room was really fun; not a weird or creepy vibe at all, which is the total opposite of what happens when girls drop trou at porn events and porn parties. This was innocent, playful, yes very sexual, but totally fun. There were other girls there, too but we had fun watching and helping our playful little exhibitionist.

Photos from the party.

We released her, but then re-wrapped her when we decided to crash the Webzine party with our new Miss Webzine 2005; we wrote “Fuck 2257” on her, stuck her with Webzine stickers and a “Powered by Laughing Squid” sticker on her bum, and off we went. The party was fun and easygoing, there was only one creepy ogling guy (and the party was very self-regulating in that no one tolerated his nonconsensual filming of various girls, and even took his camera at one point), and lots of fun. I spent a while in the kitchen bound in X-mas lights, and got accosted by the party’s “kissing bandit” for a minute. Sadly, she kept asking me what to do and if we were done yet… why can’t I get the girls who want to go for it? Maybe next time, sigh. I could think of at least one scorchingly hot girl who should have been at the conferenece that would have *known* what do do…

I woke up the next morning to Macki on my computer shouting “YOU”VE BEEN BOINGBOINGED!” It was before coffee. And it was quite a weekend. Later, more beer and fun, and with Phillip there we all got to drunkenly tell him the Make Magazine issues we’d like to see, shouting “Revenge Make!” “Naughty Make!” Phillip is a very patient man.

* This story has been updated and edited in light of new information that most of Jake’s stories and claims are untrue, and many belong to other people.

** I miss you, Macki.

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