fremont solstice weekend


Many backs were scratched, but many others remained unfulfilled and itchy. Scratching parade onlookers is a double-edged sword.

scratchers2  scratcher_fromweb

A teacher at the end of her rope harangued the crowds. A pit bull offered kissing services.

end_of_rope2  bull2


fremont solstice parade tales


1. Before the parade I was at the staging area looking for Diane in the “Birds and Bells” group. I found some birds and asked a cardinal, “Where is Diane the canary?” She said, “Diane? Isn’t she a puffin?” Someone else said, “No, there’s a canary Diane. She went out to take photos.” I found her. She’s in the second photo below.

2. During the parade, my partner and I (pictured below) scratched many, many backs of both children and adults.  Some people wanted nothing to do with me whatsoever. Others were bowing to the pavement, eager for the golden fingers. I scratched one dog. Two people asked me to scratch their posteriors. I told them I’d need a signed permission form and moved on. Someone photoed me performing the sacred scratching rite.

3. After the parade, a man was admiring my garments. “Is that Balinese?” he asked me. I could have said it was woven by leprechauns who used the hair of the African water rat. He might have been a believer. But no, I told the truth – it came from the women’s pajamas and maternity wear section of a thrift store.


floating and sinking in the center of the universe


I noticed that Peet’s Coffee in Fremont (the one a few doors down from Starbucks) has closed it’s doors forever. Here in the center of the “center of the universe” there’s still Fremont Coffee and Cafe Ladro, so all is not lost. My prediction of what business will take Peet’s place – a dog underwear boutique. What do you think? Isn’t this a niche waiting to be filled?

My prediction of the next business to go under (so to speak) in Fremont is Urban Float, the isolation tank business. My only association with floating in salt water enclosures is Dr.  John Lilly, who may have developed the modern float tank. I guess that really dates me as an oldster. He used to go into them under the influence of LSD or ketamine. I went to a public talk he gave way back in the day. Someone in the audience asked him a question: “What state of consciousness are you in now?” His answer: “Do you mean me or the man talking?” He seemed very much interested in being perceived as the far-out mystery wisdom man, but that’s just my retroactive impression. Aliens, dolphins, psychedelics … it’s all too beautiful.

But anyway, back to Urban Float. I believe they will sell a fair number of first-time floats ($45) and maybe some first-time three-float packages ($179), but then customers will realize that an hour massage might be nicer than an $89 float. I could be wrong. I don’t wish them ill. I just have doubts. A question on the FAQ page asks, “Is this new-aged (sic) mumbo jumbo?” The answer: “Floating has been around for over 40 years and has oodles of research to back it up. No mumbo or jumbo here.” Why then is there no link to the oodles of research to back up whatever it is they are backing up?

I recommend going next door and getting a warm bowl of pho. You’ll find slippery noodles floating in the salty, soupy nutrient broth. Let it cool a bit and set your face in it for a moment to get a mini-float experience. Then you can eat it, which you don’t want to do with the fluid in the isolation tank. Just ask the woman with the British accent in the video on the Urban Float home page. She can’t talk back of course, but if she could, she’d tell you not to drink the “silky” epsom salt water. By the way, her eyebrows look plastic. Why is that?

If you scroll down on the home page, there’s a photo of a woman in a business suit, sitting cross-legged with her hands making that classic “O” shape with the thumb and index finger – the pose you only see in advertisements. There’s also a photo with a man in a spacesuit, holding a surfboard and standing on a psychedelic beach. I’m not kidding. That’s meant to attract the modern-day John Lilly with discretionary cash. Maybe one who works at Adobe or Google. You too can be a psychonaut!

Last but not least, watch the video by Dr. Darren Weissman on the Urban Float site. He explains how the salt water pulls “toxins” out of your body and the floating allows you to “move through life and life to move through you.” It allows you to “make that heart connection” and “be in a space with who your real self is.” That, my friends, is classic new age mumbo jumbo.