Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

Hey readers, I’ve recently begun wondering if my blog might be too diverse in focus for my readership and I am debating limiting my focus on this blog and starting another one for other posts or possibly something else. As a person who has many focuses in life and does many things I wanted a blog that reflects that, but I worry people might feel spammed with posts that are not relevant to their interests (you are here for DIY but I just keep posting about politics, or vice versa).

Here is your chance and your place to tell me what you come here for and what you’d like to see more of. You can choose up to 3 options on the poll and even add your own options if I missed something.

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This year’s theme for Burning Man has been announced, and it is Caravansary. If you are like me then your first thought was probably, “what the hell is a caravansary?” Quickly followed by the realization that it is a very tricky to pronounce word. A caravansary is a type of walled inn with a large central courtyard that was built along the Silk Road to protect caravans at night from marauders. You can think of a caravansary as a man-made oasis; they offered the same level of protection in their stone walls that an oasis saw from the harsh climate of the desert itself. Caravansaries and the Silk Road were crucial to the flow of information as they served as meeting places for all sorts of people from every corner of the globe, the crossroads.

Now, if you are like me, you probably then realized that this theme doesn’t really add much to the event like previous themes have. Burning Man has had themes for art since 1998, but the art-theme area of the website gives no hint as to the purpose of these themes nor their goal. Perhaps I am off base in assuming the themes are meant to modulate the event to make it somewhat different every year. Sure, Burning Man is always totally different, yet always the same, but the theme offers participants a filter or locus through which to view the event, it points us in a direction and says “go.”

Past themes, like Green Man, Metropolis, Cargo Cult and American Dream have forced us to re-examine our relationships with the environment, our cities, ourselves, and likelihood of realizing the American Dream. While Burning Man is always a leave no trace event, thus environmentally conscious, Green Man took it to new levels with art pieces like Crude Awakening. This was a giant oil derrick which showed humanity’s worship of oil which ultimately erupted into a mushroom cloud of fire when nearly 3,000 pounds of propane and jet fuel were ignited at weeks end. While that might not sound terribly green it is equivalent to “the amount of energy consumed in the Bay Area in one minute” and since the Bay Area was on vacation that week at Burning Man I imagine it balanced out. So while past themes have provided direction to the event in addition to the existing matrix of Burning Man laid out in the Ten Principles, this years theme does not.

Let’s break down this year’s theme. A caravansary is an inn where people from all over the world would get together, drink, swap stories, and perhaps swap more than that in gifts, trade, and lovemaking. By default, in order to be at a caravansary, you were on a pilgrimage of sorts or you worked at the inn. If you have never been to Burning Man let me do a quite comparison for you. If you are at the Burn you are on a pilgrimage of sorts or you work for Burning Man/the Government (“the inn”). Burning Man itself is a caravansary protecting inhabitants from the harsh Black Rock Desert that surrounds, it is our oasis in time and space in a vast sea of dust. Within this grand caravansary there is arranged a smaller assortment of taverns, bars, inns, and lounges, nearly all having some sort of inner courtyard to offer weary travelers repose.

While I am rather underwhelmed by the theme, because it is basically saying “this years theme is Burning Man,” I am similarly impressed. I was forced to learn a new word and I’ve already had my consciousness expanded thanks to my initial opposition to the theme. Sometimes what sounds utterly moronic at first proves to be the best idea imaginable and Burning Man is a great place for testing the bounds of imagination and idiocy. I am also impressed by this year’s Burn because instead of placing the Man ever higher from the desert floor on huge structures, making him ever less ADA accessible, he is returning to the floor of the desert as a MASSIVE effigy.

So how is Burning Man a grand caravansary? And if it is what sort of folks go there on pilgrimage to trade ideas and craft a collective narrative?

Well, there are these kinds of people…

Burning Man – Fun for all ages, old and young.

There are there sorts of people too…

Sometimes a dance floor at Burning Man just looks like a forest of fuzzy coats and furry top hats. This can be both wonderful and very disorienting if high on drugs.

And yes, they’re out there too…the infamous sparkleponies.

A wild herd of sparkleponies have appeared. Not always female, know a sparklepony by their sass, ass, and magical ability to vanish whenever it is time to do work.

Burning Man is representative and inclusive of everyone, including the aforementioned stereotypes of sparkleponies, people wearing furry coats, and naked old people; honestly, they make the event what it is, God bless the sparkleponies and shirtcockers. Past the usual stereotypes and tropes, Burning Man has a lot of techies. Hordes. It’s like SF moved to the desert for a week. The Burning Man census reveals this to be true, showing that over a third of participants still come from northern California, mostly the Bay Area. Most participants identify as being white/not a person of color; the question has been asked in different ways in different years yielding different results.

There also are retired army generals, like former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark, who was hanging out at this last Burn in conversation with John Perry Barlow (an EFF founder and Grateful Dead lyricist) and Larry Harvey (the main co-founder of Burning Man and its informal mayor). It sounds like the start of a joke; a Dead-Head,  a retired General, and the founder of Burning Man all walk into bar to sit down for a drink. It would be funny if it wasn’t real and didn’t have major significance. The usual belief is that Burning Man is only a place for the fuzzy hats and that clean-cut Good-Ol’ Boys would scarcely want to go let alone be accepted there. Only he did want to go there, no one is forced to be there other than the police and Burning Man staff who provide the crucial infrastructure to keep the event functional and safe. Not only did General Clark go to the Burn he also was accepted and given a rather warm welcome.

Everyone knows that world-class DJs are at the Burn every year, such as Junkie XL, Paul Oakenfold, Beats Antique, and The Crystal Method, but many people don’t realize that non-electronic artists also go to Burning Man, they just aren’t performing yet. P Diddy was sighted around this last Burn as well, sporting a stylish pink parasol. Hopefully P Diddy will join the vast legion of performers who gift their crafts to Black Rock City every year. As previously stated there are hordes of techies at Burning Man, this includes the God-child of all techies, Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg is not alone, he is joined by the whole cast of The Social Network, including the identical Winklevoss Twins and Dustin Moshkovitz. Moshkovitz wrote a great piece about why the presence of techies and plug and play camps should be embraced rather than spurned. I still have mixed feelings about plug and play camps, but much of the bad taste has been cleansed from my palate. Some people need a very sterile environment in order to enjoy the Burn, sometimes for valid medical reasons; who is any one person to deny them that experience? I’m not that guy and I don’t care to meet him.

Mostly you find lots of people like me. We dress however the hell we please regardless of where we are; I wore a three piece suit many days this last Burn, then other days I looked like a “steampunk hobo wizard” to quote a friend. People like me do work, often more than our fair share because we recognize that without someone doing work Burning Man doesn’t happen. People like me are kind of artists, maybe writers, often wearing many hats at different times filling many different roles in camps and in life. We’ll gift you things at the Burn unprompted and without any expectation of return, the way any true gift should be given.

The only people who are not welcome are asshats like Krug champagne who either cannot read, can’t be bothered to read the rules, or worse of all read the rules and think they are exempt from them. Burning Man makes it very clear that you are not to exploit the event for marketing or promotional reasons; this isn’t your photo-op to make your brand seem edgy. Krug thought it would be in the Burner ethos to have a huge invite-only champagne party out on the Playa, exclusively to take promotional photos. They then felt it would be neighborly to leave the place trashed; isn’t that one of the Ten Principles? Oh wait no, it’s not “leave it trashed,” it is leave no trace. Way to go asshats. Some Burners did come by to help clean the mess up, but it wasn’t their mess and that really wasn’t fair to them, but then when is life ever really fair? Burning Man often teaches us, sometimes brutally, that life is not fair (see the yearly ticketing melee).

All things said and done, I love Burning Man as much as ever and would love to make it back out there this year, though I worry about the chance of that given massive medical bills. People complain every year about the theme, how it’s not like it used to be, and how it used to be free, etc. Nope, it’s not how it used to be, no one is driving over tents in the night or shooting guns in city limits. Nope, it isn’t free either, but there are bathrooms provided and other services (an awesome medical system with 3 major locations in the city). Burning Man used to embrace anarchy more than it does today, now it is radical self expression that is embraced. I prefer what it is today, a temporary experiment in city building and the world’s largest living art museum/gallery, and I for one love being part of that grand social experiment in the most famed caravansary of our time.

The second short story I am posting from my novel and the first of which coming from the Burning Man section of the book.

Branded

It was Sunday, that made it God’s day out there in the Christian world. Here at Burning Man, Sunday means it is time to burn the Temple and bring the formal Burn to a close. Tomorrow will be the last official day of Burning Man, but you can stay longer. Right now, tomorrow feels like it is a lifetime away.

For me, Sunday also meant my facial wound from an amazing and daring swordfight was now healed enough to begin flaking off, and the fight itself legendary enough to earn me my own Playa name, Captain Safety. I was amazed by how quickly I healed out here and suspected it had something to do with the climate or alkaline dust. If I nurtured this facial wound right during healing, in time I could have a real bad boy scar. You know, one of those scars with a story, a scar right over your eye. This Sunday also meant I’d regained enough serotonin to be my normal talkative self again, mostly.

The best way I’d discovered to spend the long, hot hours in the middle of the day was with hookah, friends, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. PBR was a fine beer, with a better flavor and usually a lower price than Budweiser and other cheap beers. Yet one had to cope with the hipster stigma attached to it. A devils bargain, but everything was a trade off.

At Burning Man no one seemed to care what you drank or wore, in fact I don’t recall even hearing the word hipster all Burn. Most burners complained more about tourists than hipsters; tourists were people at the Burn as observers, often considered to be not true burners because they didn’t fully embrace the burner ethos. But tourist, like hipster, was in the eye of the beholder and a pejorative applied to a person by a stranger who knows nothing of who an individual really is, other than the caricature they are presenting at a given moment. And moments are merely snapshots in time. Maybe I looked like a tourist, maybe I looked like a hipster. Neither one was relevant when we were all covered in the same dust.

We were relaxing in the long shade created by the RV by the afternoon sun; the whole crew was assembled. There was the Trio de Chicas Locas, the three gorgeous and fierce girls Foreman had helped out earlier in the week when one of them got a concussion. It was nice having a medic in your camp. There was, of course my camp, Coffee and Cigarettes, our leader Rhyno, Foreman, my friend Chyutknee, and various others. We were based after comedy movie of the same name and gave away the very obvious and appropriate coffee and cigarettes, as well as having nightly open mic comedy. We also had some new faces. The Chicas had managed to find a Trio de Australians and brought them over. Two of them looked like decent blokes, and one of them looked like a fucking butcher. It was something about his eyes, kind of shifty and not trusting, which made him seem out of place at the Burn and not trustworthy to my drug addled brain. His eyes and his Mohawk, which was held together by some combination of Elmer’s glue and safety pins, made him look rather menacing. Matching the mis-matched pins through the glue-ridden unicorn horns of his hair were two larger safety pins through his ear lobes. They looked to be the same thing he pierced the holes with originally, who knows how long ago that was.

Ramona, easily the most loca of the trio, was soberly and then drunkenly telling us how this was her last day out here and she had to leave before the Temple burned. Missing this experience was something she was not okay with, but she had a backup plan. She insisted on having an image of The Man branded on her. She wanted a true hot iron brand, cowboy style, though maybe not hog-tied. This gorgeous young girl wanted us to leave a mark on her physically, as we already had emotionally, and specifically she wanted that mark on her ankle.

Her ankles were slender and beautiful. I could wrap a hand around one and touch my finger tips together. In all ways imaginable this was a less than ideal location for a brand. We were in a desert, over 100 miles from the closest hospital. Instead of getting the brand on a nice fleshy area, like her gloriously round ass, she picked her dainty yet boney ankles.

One of the Australians, not Crocodile Dundee or Steve Irwin, but The Butcher, offers to do the deed. “Oy, I’ll burn it on you,” he says with a sly, suspecting, and suspicious grin, “let’s go back to my camp where my tools are.”

When he says tools I see a twinge of something cross his maniacal face and I know what he means.

“My Gods,” I exclaim loudly in my head, still not fully able to articulate speech after the MDMA crash. “This scheming bastard with a rat’s nest for a head wants to take her back to his camp and work her over with his tools. He wants to whisk her away and have his way with her. By the looks of him he’ll rape her, chop her up, and then maybe eat her and only maybe in that order.” You can never tell how depraved these types can be. Retrospectively I am not sure how much of this was the drugs talking to me and how much was legitimate worry for a new friend.

I come back to the present moment, out of my head, to see Ramona beginning to fall into this twisted cannibal’s plot. I grab her by the shoulder, gently but urgently and pull her aside. “Don’t go with that kangaroo fucking madman, you cannot trust people who fuck marsupials. Besides that, did you see the look in his eyes? He sees you as meat, fresh, warm, red meat for the slaughter. The man is a butcher, a kill you first and fuck you later type. Jeffrey Dahmer dressed in a t-shirt and furry boots, every safety pin jammed through his body a former trophy. I count six trophies Mona, do you think this crazed wingnut likes symmetry? I doubt it! Do you see what I am saying?”

She was hesitant to reply, looking torn between perplexed amusement and sage decision making, “I think…”

“What I am saying is we have a propane stove, vice grips, and hell we even have the saran wrap and medical tape we need to doctor it up right. We have you covered, stay here with friends.” She nodded, I had won her over.

“Oy, are we doing this or not?” The Butcher was getting antsy to leave; he knew I was onto him. I could smell his fear.

“Yes, but I’m staying here. Coffee and Cigarettes has everything I need and I would rather not walk a bunch after branding my ankle.”

As a man of many talents who had traveled the world over, Chyutknee offered his services at this crucial juncture. “I’ve branded cows and sheep before how different can this be?”

At this utterance The Butcher dejectedly signaled to Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin that it was time for them to piss off. He scowled at me, a crudely mohawked savage with pins through his ears and murder in his eyes. They walked out of camp into the dust laden winds and were soon nothing but a memory.

***

“Alright, if we’re going to do this we’re doing it by the books, as best as we can.” Foreman settled into his role and drew from years of experience as an EMT to make sure our semi-sober selves did not make a complete mess of things. “Captain Safety, get your medical tape and vicegrips. Rhyno, start wiping off that metal necklace you were gifted with this sanitary towelette, we’ll use that as the brand. Chyutknee, get some gloves on. I’ll turn on the stove and grab the saran wrap!”

This process, while done with the utmost expediency, was being conducted on “Burner time,” meaning time became quite relative. Two beers later we were all assembled and ready to go. Ramona was propped up in the comfiest folding chair in the camp, the one with all four legs and no rips in the fabric. Her intended leg was elevated, bare, and erected for this moment of great anticipation. While the necklace was being transmogrified into a hot brand, Mona cracked open another beer and we toasted to her decision.

I had always hoped to witness a live human branding someday. I just never expected to see one so early in my life, or to be so intimately involved in the experience. I even had my camera there to get photos.

The brand was ready and we readied Ramona with a cloth bit in her mouth. With a big grin, the grin of a proud craftsman birthing a new creation, Chyutknee let the scalding, blistering hot metal kiss the delicate ankle of our dear little Ramona, gently, like a politician kissing a baby. As one would expect, she squirmed from the pain but took it well and ended up with a very decent looking brand of The Man. We wrapped it in saran wrap, taped it down like one does a tattoo, iced it, and she was good to go.

Like a real champ, while many of us were still paralyzed with wonder, Ramona laced up her boot over the newly minted brand. She stood up, chugged the rest of her beer and was ready to go party. I was awestruck by this beautiful, tough as nails desert flower who just bloomed before my eyes. This girl was of a breed too strange to live and too rare to die.

Laundry Day Lifehacks

Posted: November 25, 2013 in DIY, Fashion
Tags: , ,

I was doing laundry on my day off and it reminded me of a couple nifty life hacks I came up with a few years back to save yourself tons of time on ironing clothes and stress on your back.

This is a really simple point but one overlooked by many people I see at the laundromat, have your clothes in something with wheels. I personally use my wheeled luggage that I take on airplanes, it’s conveniently the right size for a load of laundry and it prevents me from having to have a cart just for laundry. This bag is also water proof enough to protect my laundry from the rain.

The second lifehack is to bring a heavy-duty jacket coat hanger with you to hang up easily wrinkled clothes. Instead of stuffing dress shirts into a bag only to have to iron them when you get home just hang them up. It helps to hang up the smallest in size first and layer to the largest, you can fit about a dozen on one hanger before it becomes unwieldy.

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Hey everybody, hope you’ve been enjoying the blog so far. This post begins a new section of the blog where I will provide handy DIY lifehacks to make your life easier. I am an avid cyclist, riding upwards of 50 miles a week most weeks of the year, even in rainy weather. I also happen to wear glasses, which normally isn’t relevant as a biker, except when it is raining and your glasses fog over with rain drops, reducing visibility to near nothing in minutes. There are few good options available for a cyclist with glasses to spare them this pesky and potentially dangerous fate. You can pay hundreds of dollars for one of these German helmets or for one of these French ones. Some cyclists have even gone to the lengths of making their own, and I am one of them. In this blog I will give you my very simple schematic to make an empty two liter soda bottle into a bike visor in under five minutes, just in time for rainy weather.

While I like Jeff-O’s design I feel like it would let rain slip in from above and would still fall victim to fogging up. I have not used it personally and as such I can only speculate. The reason I opted for the design I did, which keeps the visor far away from the face and glasses is to prevent fogging up from body heat. I also feel like my design has better top coverage. His visor is much less bulky than my first version, but after seeing his build I re-designed mine to be sleeker and more svelte (see photos below).

You Will Need: An empty soda bottle, Velcro strips, scissors, and a bike helmet.

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Step 1: Empty Your Soda Bottle

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I tried to be a Mentos magician but clearly need to level up more.

This is pretty simple, and can be as fun as you are creative. You can just pour the soda out, but that is about as boring as it gets. You could drink it, which while being more exciting is still pretty mundane and full of obesity. You can shake it up and spray it in a stranger’s face then run away before they hit you. Or, best method, you can add Mentos to Diet Coke to create a carbonated geyser of liquid diabetes. The options truly are endless. I personally prefer using a bottle that is clear as my base, but you can play around with seven up bottle for a green tint. I picked a Pepsi bottle over coke because coke bottles have ridges and you really want a smooth plastic surface for best visibility with the least distortion.

Step 2: Cut the Soda Bottle Into Shape

Remove the label from your soda bottle and wash it out. You will notice that around the bottom, where the bottle bulges out at the base, there is a seem running horizontal around the entire circumference. Cut along that seem to remove the bottom. Cut a straight line to the top of the bottle, all the way to the cap if you can. Remove the cap. You should be left with a piece of plastic that is a semi dome that comes to a point where the cap was. Try to cut it so that any printed writing on the plastic wont obstruct your vision.

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Step 3: Attach Velcro To Helmet

I use three places to mount my Velcro, one on each side and one in the middle on top of the helmet, you may want to use more if you are worried about high wind situations, but I found mine to withstand winds up to 30 mph. By using Velcro like this you can remove the visor when not needed instantly and it folds up to fit neatly into a backpack.

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Now you are ready to handle winter’s rainy weather like a champ and look like Robocop while you are doing it.

Robocop Helmet

Build #1: Note how much larger it was, this caused it to catch more wind.

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Build #2: A hybrid of my initial design with Jeff-O’s build.

As useful as this helmet visor is, it pales in comparison to this invisible helmet which I am eagerly waiting for. Freedom from helmet hair, better peripheral vision, better neck protection, and it looks like a very stylish scarf. It’s really more of an airbag for your head than an invisible helmet though, but it looks much more solid than an air bag.

[EDIT]: Not all Velcro’s are created equal! I’ve used two different brands now and I can safely say that 3M off-brand Velcro is totally superior to Velcro Extreme in terms of holding capacity.

As suggestive as the title is, this is not a post about bondage, unless you have a very strange view on neckties (to each their own, you’ll find no judgment here). Also, I don’t just like men in suits; I love it when girls wear ties and vests, it is quite easily my favorite outfit combo for anyone.

As you may have noticed in every photo of me on this blog so far, and likely every one to come, I am wearing a tie and the tie has not repeated once (and probably wont). Last time I counted I had around 200 ties, but I’ve got more since then and given others away. As appealing as it is to try and get a Guinness record I have no interest in surpassing the current title holder with 60,000 ties. I’ve long wanted to be a teacher and my goal is to have enough ties to get my through a school year without repeats. I have nothing against wearing the same tie twice and have many favorites, but I love variety in my life.

Today I am wearing a unique one, today I have anthrax. This tie was created by Infectious Awareables who have a whole line of virus ties. I was lucky enough to get my anthrax at my favorite thrift store for a couple bucks. Thanks to IA I now have a reason to want Ebola, probably the only time and context in my life when that will ever be true; Ebola is terrible. This company is cool for three main reasons. The first is they are a company that makes neckties and other accessories printed with the human genome and viruses, even computer viruses. The second is that you can get custom ties made (albeit in 300 unit bulk orders). The third, and I think most awesome reason, they donate a portion of their proceeds to medical research, education, and treatment.

As much as I love loud and interesting prints the do limit your options in how you will tie your tie.  Most people are familiar with the Four in the Hand, Half Windsor, Windsor, Pratt Knot, Box Knot, and the Bow Tie Knot. Fewer are hip to the exotic Trinity Knot, Eldredge Knot, Merovingian Knot, and a slew of even rarer knots. Many of these exotic ways to tie a tie do not work that well with elaborate patterns. If you plan to try these yourself, I’d also recommend pre-emptively tying your tie for work, or practicing before attempting to tie a new and complicated knot after just waking up, resulting in a sloppy tie or being late to work. Trust me, I have been tying ties for over a decade now and I still had issues with my first Eldredge knot.

You may or may not have heard of Burning Man, growing up in the SF Bay Area I’ve known about it and suspected I would end up there since middle school. Most people think of Burning Man as a giant RAVE in the desert, like Coachella (only cheaper than Coachella and it lasts a week instead of four days). But Burning Man is so much more. You could spend all week out there and listen only to live music or at least not electronic, or even no music at all. There is a TEDx out there as well as the Palenque Norte lecture series and countless other talks and classes on nearly every topic you can think of. Simply put, there is something for everyone of all ages in that desert, from the very young to the very old.

There are art cars, vehicles of all sorts transformed into living art projects.

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While music primarily is electronic there was still live music to be had, namely this badass drummer.

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Along with music Burning Man is riddled with philosophy and thought provoking works of art.

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Burning Man honors many American cultural landmarks…

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And at the end of the week everything burns, even the Temple.

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One thing I have learned from years of researching Burning Man it is that no one knows exactly how or why it was started, either that or people know and are unwilling to come to a consensus on the facts. This has left the event’s origin shrouded in rumor with an elaborate mythology. Stories range from the tragic death of a friend or pet, to an explosive divorce with an awful wife, to the mundane desire to just burn a man on the beach. I’ve developed my own theory about the roots of Burning Man, and choice of current location. I call it a theory but it is meant more as a humorous observation, rather than something taken with the weight of actual science, and it meant to be seen as inclusive (not mutually exclusive) with all other theories. You may call this the Dune Origin Myth for the starting of Burning Man.

If my first post didn’t make it clear I love Dune, the David Lynch movie not the book. I have not read the book yet, which I’ll admit is a failure on my part because books are awesome. In Dune, there are several planets, including Caladan and Arrakis; I will only be discussing these two as the only relevant ones to this post, as well as a small bit of the plot without spoiling anything. The main characters, the royal family of Duke Leto Atreides, live on Caladan, a planet covered in a vast ocean. They are instructed by the Emperor of the Known Universe to go to Arrakis to take control of the spice mining operations. Arrakis is also known as Dune, it is a dry desert planet where nothing grows and there is no life other than giant sandworms and the hardy Fremen people. The only thing of value on Dune is the spice Melange; this spice is vital to space travel and expands consciousness. Over years of using the spice people can evolve to be more than human, as is evidenced by the Spacing Guild navigators.

Now that you know the relevant literary context let me address how this applies to the founding of Burning Man. I was born in San Francisco, and the furthest I have ever lived from there is Santa Cruz; being a lifetime Bay Area resident the ocean is the salt in my blood. Burning Man was started by Bay Area residents, artists and crafters, as well as a fair few jolly pranksters, in my hometown of San Francisco. In a quick four years, it grew too big to be housed on Baker Beach in SF and they had to find somewhere new to burn a Man. They found the Black Rock Desert, a geographic feature known as a playa, which coincidentally is Spanish for beach. Burning Man had now found a beach big enough to hold countless many more free spirits and pleasure seekers.

Thanks to help from John Law of the now mostly-defunct SF Cacophony Society, the 1990 Burn was moved to the Black Rock desert, where the virgin BMORG effectively co-opted the Cacophony Society’s Zone Trip #4: A Bad Day at Black Rock making it the first Burning Man. I use the term co-opted rather lightly here, Larry Harvey and Jerry James were invited by John Law and Michael Mikel of Cacophony to come along to burn their Man. The co-opting happens in history where the event is solely remembered for being the first Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert, part of this posting is keeping the history of Cacophony alive in the wake of a dominant countercultural force like Burning Man. History is written by the conquerors, even the history of counterculture movements. I guess you could say I have a soft spot for Cacophony.

Like the Atreides family these brave adventurers embarked on a grand pilgrimage to a place they had never gone before, a place radically different than the world they were leaving behind. Duke Leto comforted his son with some sage advice before they set out for Dune, “A person needs new experiences … Without change something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.” Larry Havery also recognized the vast potential for change out there in the desert, “I drew a line on the ground, and I said on the other side of this line everything will be different. And everything has been different.” On the other side of the line is a desert and deserted world, void of plants and animal life, a place of nothing but dust. In Dune the spice is said to be in everything on the planet, to permeate all life there, just like the dust in the Black Rock Desert saturates all things brought onto its alkaline expanse. While in Dune it was a spice-dust that expanded consciousness for us Burners in the Playa there isn’t anything spicy about it, though it is alkaline.

Despite Burning Man being a global phenomenon, according to 2011 census over half of Burners still came from California with over a third from Northern California. While we are beginning to see more participation from inland areas as Burner culture permeates deeper into humanity’s collective conscious, it remains primarily an activity of us coastdwellers. Like Arrakis in Dune, Burning Man exists as a context where ocean people, or put broader people that are not of the desert, can go to the desert and learn how to survive out there in its harsh and unique climate. Whether you go to Burning Man as a survivalist, you will leave the Burn as a survivalist. This event trains you to survive in one of the harshest environments out there, which for me is part of the appeal; testing my limits to further my personal growth. The great thing about the Burn is that there is something for everyone, no matter your age or personal background; nothing is forced on you and nearly anything is permitted that doesn’t violate relevant state or federal laws. It is a blank canvass for each individual to paint their masterwork, before burning it away and starting fresh.

For my first post permit me to humor my love of the movie Dune.

A Beginning Is A Very Delicate Time. Know then that my name is Mitchell Colbert and it is the year 2013. The Known Universe is ruled by a panoptic technology that is enmeshed in everything we do, called The Internet. In this time, cool kids write about what they do and post it on the Internet for complete strangers to read it, and maybe laugh, and perhaps expand their consciousness. The Internet is vital to modern life and available even during space travel.
Humanity, and a subspecies of Trolls who have been mutated by thousands of hours on /b/, use the Internet to read the news, watch funny cat videos, and post 140 character updates to Twitter. We can stay connected to any part of the universe without moving from our chairs.

I’m done paraphrasing Dune for now, but I felt it an appropriate way to start things off. Now that I have gotten the ball rolling permit me to tell you why I have decided to create this blog and join the ranks of those illustrious cool kids who tell people about what they do on the Internet.

This blog is not a political blog, it is not a photography blog, cooking blog, DIY blog, or any sort of themed blog, but it will probably include all those topics and more. This blog is about things that stir up my passions so much that I need to share them with the world. Expect political posts to keep you up to date on the news the networks don’t cover, expect me to share life hacks to make your life easy mode, and expect me to post plenty of recipes/photos/poems. I am a person who views knowledge as a communal good that should be shared with as many people as possible, this blog is my means to that end.

I will be trying to post with some regularity, once or twice a week. That may not always happen since, unlike professional bloggers, I don’t get paid to write this and work a real job, at the world’s largest medical cannabis dispensary, Harborside Health Center. You may now be wondering how much of a real job working at a medical cannabis collective actually is, read on, dear readers, and find out.

A beginning truly is a very delicate time, and how something begins can predict how well it will fair. I picked today