which burning man wins?

a). Art, peace, and love
b.) Inebriated partying

I’ll find out soon, assuming the truck rolls into Black Rock City Monday morning as planned. With me in it, that is. I’m hoping the other 34,999 people will be on their best behavior. Be back around Labor Day.


the dusty inquirer


I know, I said I wouldn’t blog much for a while. I did a bunch of packing and prep work after work and now I’m tired and relaxing at this here keyboard.

Because I’m volunteering as an Oracle at Playa Information next week, I got a copy of the Playa Info manual from the Web. Go ahead, ask the infomaniac a question:

Q: Where can I get water at Burning Man?
A: You can’t.*
Q: I locked myself out of my car? What can I do?
A: You’re on your own.* There is no lockout team this year.
Q: I dropped my wallet in a porta-pottie toilet. Help?
A: Ha.*

*Ask your friendly neighbors and passers-by for help, because, doggone it, isn’t helping each other what it’s all about?
A: No, the hokey pokey is what it’s all about.
A: No. The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind and sticking in your hair and nostrils.
A: Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

I’m also scheduled to play in the Burning Band.



It’s a long drive out into the hills east of Seattle, up a winding road, and into a semi-primitive park–that’s where you leave the car. That’s where you buy your ticket. Then you take a three minute hike downhill amongst huge old growth trees and come upon Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater. A nice person at the entrance offered cushions and a spritz of bug repellent. What a great place for outdoor theater. Since there’s a matinee and evening show, and the place is a far jaunt for many of the actors, some of them camp at the park for the weekend. My hat (leopard-skin fez) is off to dedicated actors hauling sleeping bags to the theater.

And what an entertaining production of “Taming of the Shrew.” There was huge amount of action, slapstick and otherwise, packed into the story. This took full advantage of all the space available in the forest setting, and it must have required a fair amount of planning, timing, and practice to pull off all the physical stunts. There were several familiar faces in this show. Emily (who dumps water on Nick), Nick (who throws water at Emily), John (assistant director, haberdasher, officer), and Mok (Petruchio). Much as I like them all, I have to say that Mok did an outstanding job as Petruchio. And he managed to slip in a little bit of the incantation from my Pazuzu play when a scene called for saying grace over a meal, and also managed to bring his ubiquitous stuffed horse into the production.

After an evening show, the nighttime walk back up the softy lit path to the park is magical, if not spooky.

party in the oort cloud


I read on Gretchin’s blog that she and Sven are celebrating their Oort Cloud anniversary. What a great name for an anniversary. Instead of those silly silver and gold anniversaries, choose something celestial. The idea is that for a one-year anniversary, select something one light year away from earth. If you and your sweetie hopped onto a light beam a year ago, today you’d be in the Oort Cloud. By light year reckoning, Maggie and I could celebrate our Wolf 424 anniversary this fall. A binary star–two red dwarves about 14 light years out. You can’t do better than two red dwarves! Or we could choose Van Maanen’s Star, which is a white dwarf in the Pisces constellation. Actually, that one sounds a little fishy.

sandi ate two crickets


I visited a house yesterday that had lots of deformed animal taxidermy specimens. That’s where Sandi ate the crickets.

Thanks to notification from Kelly (see Kelly’s Spot link on left), I had an opportunity to attend an annual event I’d never heard about before, the Eccentric’s Party. It took place at a house that was pretty much an Adam’s Family-type museum. Most of the party was outside, under the huge statue of a goat, or ram, or whatever. The inside is crammed with so much stuff that it felt claustrophobic to walk around in it. I took a couple photos, but they don’t really do justice to the reality.

It was mighty eccentric. Every inch of the place is filled with odd items. Lots of two-headed creatures. It was as if someone had given a teenage boy a few million bucks and told him to buy every cool and freaky item he could find. There’s an overall emphasis on death, disfigurement, and weird. There were hundreds and hundreds of pictures on the walls–surrealistic, horror, or science fiction. Tables, shelves, and floor space were covered with more trinkets than Archie McPhee’s, with an emphasis on the macabre. I didn’t get to see the basement. That was by personal tour only, and was rumored to be gleaming and futuristic, as opposed to the upper floors’ dusty and gothic. Maybe next year.

Artists were invited to bring their wares for display or sale in the yard. There was a potluck meal (including some cooked bugs) and live entertainment. Did I mention that Sandi ate two crickets?

yow yow yow


While I’m frying in the desert, I’ll be missing both the New York Dolls and Iggy and the Stooges performing at Bumbershoot. Devo cancelled. I’ll also be missing Elvis Costello, the Decemberists, the Posies, Smoosh, Chris Stamey, plus a million bands and musicians I’ve never heard of. And while on the subject of entertainers like the NY Dolls who’ve returned from the dead, I’ve been getting mini-podcasts from the Firesign Theater. It’s like getting messages from a universe I lived in 30 years ago. The Firesign still live, spewing new bits that sometimes approach their excellent, happy work of yesteryear. I got one the other day that featured a guy named Bob Dog, advertising his business that sells shoes, tires, or both. Hard to tell. “It’s my privilege to put shoes on your best friend just like he was my own son’s car.”

[Update: it turns out that the funny Bob Dog segment that seemed almost as good as their old stuff, was their old stuff–recorded in 1971. Oops.]